The primary objective of the Southside Planning District Commission is to promote the orderly and efficient development of the economic, physical and social fabric of this rural region by assisting local governmental units in developing policies, programs and projects which directly impact the region's economic, physical and social needs.
The Southside Planning District Commission is an organization established to serve as the official regional planning and development agency acting as the forum to promote intergovernmental cooperation and coordination on mutual problems of regional significance.
What is a Planning District Commission?
A Planning District Commission is a public body, created by the Virginia General Assembly, to promote the orderly and efficient development of the physical, social and economic elements by planning, encouraging and assisting governmental subdivisions to plan for the future. It has no legislative or taxing power but provides an opportunity for citizens to participate in decisions to solve common problems and needs. In all of their activities, the main theme of Planning District Commissions is intergovernmental cooperation. Their primary mission is to serve the local government and the citizens of the Planning District.
What does the PDC do?
The PDC provides essential technical assistance to local governments, coordinates state and federal efforts to assist communities, reviews and coordinates local development proposals, and helps to achieve a realistic development strategy and utilizes it in shaping a long-range development plan for the District. The primary objectives are to reduce the waste, overlap and inefficiencies that frequently result from unplanned and uncoordinated governmental and private activities.
A major role of the Southside Planning District Commission is providing technical assistance to local governments by assisting with the grant application process, and administering and managing the project once funding has been obtained through the grant.
The grant application process is lengthy and complicated, and SPDC staff have a great wealth of expertise to guide localities through the process. Grant applications submitted by SPDC staff have a very high success rate. Many millions of grant dollars have been secured over the years for this District.
Once funding has been obtained through the grant application process, SPDC staff will assist in the administration of the grant, and management of the project. SPDC staff help with planning the project, obtaining contractors, obtaining grant money, managing meetings, and much more until the project is completed.
Southside Planning District Commission staff assist localities in economic development by assisting with grant applications, grant project administration as well assisting with Enterprise Zone applications, obtaining grants for industrial sites, and providing GIS mapping for industrial sites and industrial prospects as needed.
In addition, the Lake Country Development Corporation is staffed by SPDC staff, and provides low interest loans for qualifying companies that are creating jobs as part of new industries or expansions of an existing industry.
Southside Planning District Commission assists the Virginia Department of Transportation with their Work Plan for our region.
Environment and Historic Preservation
Planning and management activities which impact or effect the environment or areas of historic significance are evaluated to insure conformance to the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act and those provisions which relate to the protection of historic and cultural properties.
History of the Southside Planning District Commission
The Charter of the Southside Planning District Commission was adopted on September 15, 1969, and Planning District 13 became the seventh organized Planning District of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The geographical extent of Planning District 13 is, and has always been, comprised of the Counties of Brunswick, Halifax, and Mecklenburg.
The first meeting of the Southside Planning District Commission was held November 6, 1969, at the Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative in Chase City, Virginia, with members attending from the Counties of Brunswick, Halifax and Mecklenburg, the City of South Boston and the Town of South Hill. Also, at this time, the Planning District was designated as an Economic Development District by the Economic Development Administration.
The Commissioners are the decision-making body that determines the overall District strategy, plan, policy and program; coordinates the work of the advisory committees; and represents the District in dealing with state and federal agencies.
This Commission consists of 17 members with 58% elected officials. The remaining 46% represents various interest groups in the District such as agriculture, education, health and industry.
Members are chosen in such a manner that all counties are equally represented and no one interest group controls the Commission.
Brunswick County has five (3) Commissioners: three (3) elected officials, one (1) from the county planning commission, and one (1) citizen-at-large.
Halifax County has eight (5) Commissioners: four (4) elected officials, one (1) from the county planning commission and three (3) citizens-at-large.
Mecklenburg County also has eight (5) Commissioners: four (4) elected officials, one (1) from the county planning commission and three (3) citizens-at-large.
The Town of South Boston has four (2) representatives; two (2) elected officials, one (1) from the town planning commission and one (1) citizen-at-large. The City of South Boston reverted from city status to town status effective July 1, 1995, thus officially becoming a part of Halifax County.
The Town of South Hill has three (2) representatives: two (2) elected officials and one (1) citizen-at-large.
There are six minority members; Halifax County—2, Mecklenburg County—1, Brunswick County—2, South Boston—0, and South Hill—1.
Goals of the Southside Planning District Commission:
- Promoting a favorable business climate to strengthen local economic development efforts
- Protecting the region's physical and natural resources
- Supporting local government's role in economic development
- Diversifying the region's economy
- Coordinating educational and retraining programs
- Assisting efforts by local governments to reduce cost and improve efficiency of services
- Maintaining a central data system and mapping services
- Monitoring development of regulations for state/federal program/projects
- Encouraging the use of federal, state, regional and local development incentives
- Furnishing technical assistance to local governments
- Increasing employment opportunities within the District
- Providing a public forum for regional issues
- Prioritizing projects for state-wide programs
The mission of the Southside Planning District Commission is to promote the orderly and efficient development of the physical, social, and economic elements of its region by assisting local governmental units in developing policies, programs, and projects which serve their individual needs and collective interests.
The primary role of the Commission is to encourage and assist member governments in economic development activities. The Commission executes this role at both the local and regional level by:
- fostering intergovernmental cooperation
- providing comprehensive planning services
- and by making available needed technical assistance in developing and administering community improvement projects and programs.
In addition to the commission's advisory capacity to local government, it also performs the functions necessary to implement its plans and programs on behalf of its members jurisdictions when such action is deemed appropriate or requested.