Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)


The Virginia Legislature in 2010 required high-growth cities, counties and towns to adopt Urban Development Areas as the focus of high density growth for 10 to 20 years. The purpose of this legislation was to better coordinate transportation and land use decision-making. Parallel to the new legislation, VDOT awarded grants to qualifying localities to offer consultant assistance in planning for these high growth areas. VDOT selected Renaissance Planning as part of a team of consultants to deliver the assistance, which involved helping communities amend their comprehensive plan to designate the UDA and their zoning and subdivision ordinances as necessary.

Renaissance recommended a variety of innovative code techniques through this project, such as incentives for mixed use, traditional neighborhood design; affordable housing; transfer of development rights; multi-modal transportation; and access management and road connectivity. Under this project, Renaissance worked for a period of 14 to 16 months with the following localities: the counties of Albemarle, Amherst, Bedford, Caroline, Fauquier, Montgomery and Rockingham, the city of Harrisonburg, and the towns of Blacksburg and Broadway. 

Our assistance resulted in a number of successful outcomes including the adoption of UDAs in almost all the localities receiving assistance, numerous successful area plans, and transportation plans and zoning ordinance amendments that have helped these localities focus growth in a transportation-efficient way in accordance with the intent of the UDA legislation. 

Since the completion of the UDA Technical Assistance program, further legislation and policy implementation have strengthened the role of UDAs within the overall statewide transportation planning framework, including such key legislative initiatives as those that defined the statewide transportation plan (VTrans), and the new statewide project prioritization process (HB2), both of which reference transportation improvements to support UDAs. We are currently working on another round of projects for several localities to assist them in complying with the UDA legislation.