The Regional Commission 313 Luck Ave., SW / PO Box 2569 / Roanoke, Virginia 24010 Tel: 540.343.4417 / Fax: 540.343.4416 www.rvarc.org / firstname.lastname@example.org
years of regional service
Serving the counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig, Franklin and Roanoke, the cities of Covington, Roanoke and Salem, and the towns of Clifton Forge, Rocky Mount and Vinton
FY 2009 Annual Report
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission
As the Commission celebrates its 40th Anniversary in 2009, I can say that this has been a very productive year for our organization. The staff has worked on several major projects/ programs in support of our member governments and has obtained several awards from national associations for some of our regional planning efforts. I am very proud of the work performed by the Commission and its staff. Although our professional staff is relatively small, I think they have done an outstanding job promoting regionalism in western Virginia. Below are just a few of the projects/programs undertaken over the last year. n
The Commission adopted its first regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), which highlights a number of important projects that will promote the future economic vitality of this region.
The Roanoke Valley Area MPO has been involved in several planning efforts, including the 2035 Long-Range Transportation Plan, Route 419 Multi-Modal Transportation Plan and the Downtown Roanoke Pedestrian Wayfinding Study, as well as ongoing support of the regional Greenway System in the Roanoke area.
We assisted in the formation of the Virginia’s Western Highlands tourism initiative, involving the counties of Alleghany, Bath, Craig and Highland, the City of Covington, and the Town of Clifton Forge.
The Commission continues to move forward on two regional water supply planning efforts. The Greater Roanoke Regional Water Supply Plan and the Upper James River Water Supply Plan (in conjunction with the Central Shenandoah PDC) continue to progress and should be completed within the next year.
RIDE Solutions, the regional rideshare program for the Roanoke and New River Valleys, increased its participation by 33%. The RIDE Solutions Workplace Partnership Program currently serves 40,000 employees and students at some of the region’s largest employers.
The Commission was designated a “Bicycle-Friendly Business” by the League of American Bicyclists. Our organization was one of only 13 businesses in the nation to be recognized with this award. This award was given to us, in part, because of the significant support the staff provides the “bicycle community” in the region.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as Chair of the Regional Commission. It has truly been a great honor and a pleasure. I am very excited about the important contributions that the Regional Commission continues to make in the development of our area. I know the new Commission leadership will continue to guide our organization forward in its service to our local governments, our citizens, and the business community.
Bradley E. Grose
Past Chairs and Executive Directors 1969-1971 Norman C. Scott City of Clifton Forge* 1971-1973 Hampton Thomas City of Roanoke 1973-1975 Norman C. Scott City of Clifton Forge*
1983-1985 Lee B. Eddy Roanoke County
1995-1999 J. Lee E. Osborne City of Roanoke
1985-1987 Charles R. Hill Town of Vinton
1999-2003 Temple Kessinger, Jr. City of Covington 2003-2005 W. D. “Bill” Bestpitch City of Roanoke
1987-1989 Harry A. Walton, Jr., Alleghany County
1975-1977 Gus Nicks Town of Vinton
January-September 2006 Brian Brown Botetourt County
1989-1991 Elizabeth Bowles City of Roanoke
1977-1979 Betty Carpenter City of Covington
October 2006-October 2009 Bradley E. Grose, Jr. Town of Vinton
1991-1993 Howard Packett City of Salem
1979-1981 Jane Hough City of Salem
Incoming Chairman Dr. David Trinkle City of Roanoke
1993-1995 Wendy C. Wingo Botetourt County
1981-1983 J. Ben Firestone Botetourt County
*The City of Clifton Forge reverted to town status in 2001. History of Executive Directors
Robert M. Shannon, Jr. James M. Colby Lee B. Eddy (Interim) Charles L. Haeussler Gordon N. Dixon Wayne G. Strickland
1969-1973 1973-1974 January-March 1974 1974-1982 1982-1987 1987-Present
(Served during the 2009 Fiscal Year July 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009) Alleghany County The Honorable Carolyn Barnette The Honorable Dave Price John Strutner Botetourt County The Honorable Steve Clinton The Honorable Billy Martin, Sr. Ned C. McElwaine Todd Wampler Craig County The Honorable Jennifer Durling Richard C. Flora Franklin County The Honorable David Cundiff The Honorable Russell Johnson The Honorable Charles Wagner Chris Whitlow
Roanoke County Clay Goodman, III The Honorable Kevin Hutchins Dean Martin The Honorable Joe McNamara The Honorable Charlotte Moore J. Lee E. Osborne City of Covington The Honorable Stephanie Clark John Doane
City of Salem The Honorable John Givens The Honorable Jane Johnson Melinda Payne Town of Clifton Forge The Honorable Jimmie Houff Tracey Shiflett
City of Roanoke The Honorable David A. Bowers Darlene Burcham Jay Foster Robert Logan The Honorable Court Rosen The Honorable David B. Trinkle
Town of Rocky Mount James Ervin The Honorable John Lester Town of Vinton The Honorable Brad Grose Chris Lawrence
LIAISON MEMBERS (Non-Voting) Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce — Teresa Hammond Dabney S. Lancaster Community College — Dr. Richard Teaff Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce — Joyce Waugh Roanoke Regional Partnership — Beth Doughty
Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau — Dave Kjolhede
Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce — Debbie Kavitz Virginia Western Community College — Dr. Robert Sandel
Western Virginia Workforce Development Board — Doloris Vest
Wayne Strickland Executive Director Jeremy Holmes Alternative Transportation Planner
Olivia Dooley Finance Director
Matt Miller, GISP Director of Information Services
Jackie L. Pace Office Manager
John Hull Regional Economic Development Manager n
Andrea Garland Planning Technician
Jake Gilmer, AICP Senior Planner
Shane Sawyer Regional Planner III
Mark McCaskill, AICP Senior Planner Eddie Wells, AICP Senior Planner
In September 2008, the Regional Commission was designated a “Bicycle-Friendly Business” at the bronze level by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). The designation is made to businesses that promote a bicycle-friendly atmosphere for employees and customers. The Regional Commission was one of only 13 businesses in the nation to be recognized as a Bicycle-Friendly Business by the LAB in the first round of applications, and one of only two businesses in Virginia to receive designation.
Staff assisted with trail assessments for the Carvins Cove Natural Area Reserve. Working with the Greenway Commission, staff used GPS and other methods to map over 40 miles of trails. Commission staff has now produced a very accurate trail map for the Carvins Cove Trail System. The Regional Commission continues to provide opportunities for students from a range of universities and colleges through its Internship Program. During the year, the Commission hosted 5 interns from East Tennessee State University, Roanoke College, Virginia Tech, and Virginia Western Community College. Additional information on the Commission’s Internship program is available at www.rvarc.org/intern.
Staff updated the Roanoke Valley Emergency Resource Directory (first published in 2002). The directory contains emergency services contact information for local, state and federal emergency agencies, public and private resources and services, and community services available to serve the needs of local emergency agencies and personnel. Staff coordinated the development of the new website for the Roanoke Valley Greenway Commission (www.greenways.org) and also developed a Google Maps application that allows users to explore the greenway locations on a dynamic map. Additionally, staff created detailed handout maps for each greenway, which are available for download on the new website. Staff continues to provide website support and updates for the Greenway Commission. Commission staff provided mapping services to the Western Virginia Land Trust (WVLT) by compiling and updating an inventory of all protected lands in the WVLT service area. Staff produced a large wall map of these protected lands for use by the WVLT at public meetings and education forums.
Began providing transportation services to the rural portions of the District – the Rural Transportation Planning Program was initiated in FY 1993 by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Initiated the Business Enhancement and Export Assistance Program. The export assistance program was aimed at helping small- to medium-sized manufacturers, agricultural and service businesses in the district identify new domestic and international markets for their products.
The Fifth Planning District Regional Alliance is formed to explore issues related to enhancing economic competitiveness and to encourage greater interjurisdictional cooperation. The Alliance prepared the Strategic Economic Development Plan.
The Cities of Roanoke and Salem, Roanoke County and the Town of Vinton agreed to provide the first year of funding for a Greenway Coordinator to be housed in the Fifth PDC office. Staff also provided assistance in the preparation of the Roanoke Valley Conceptual Greenway Plan.
The Roanoke Valley officially became the first Project Impact community in Virginia during a ceremony where representatives of the Cities of Roanoke and Salem, Roanoke County and the Town of Vinton signed a Memorandum of Agreement. The Fifth PDC served as fiscal agent for the $500,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant and housed the Project Impact staff.
The Fifth Planning District Commission is officially renamed the Roanoke ValleyAlleghany Regional Commission.
2001 RIDE Solutions, the region’s rideshare program, is launched. The program is designed to encourage residents to use alternative modes of transportation while commuting to work. Commission staff administers the program, which serves both the Roanoke and New River Valleys.
Franklin County joins the Regional Commission as a joint member.
The Town of Rocky Mount joins the Regional Commission as a joint member.
Worked with the communities of Alleghany, Bath, Craig & Highland counties, City of Covington, and Town of Clifton Forge to launch the Virginia’s Western Highlands tourism initiative. Staff helped to secure funding for the effort and worked to develop a regional tourism marketing plan, brand and organization plan.
Staff completed the regionwide Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). The Roanoke ValleyAlleghany Regional Commission celebrates 40 years of service to the region.
The Fifth Planning District Commission is officially established on August 25, 1969. Norman C. Scott, representing the City of Clifton Forge, is named the first chairman of the Commission. Robert Shannon, Jr. is named the first Executive Director.
James M. Colby named Executive Director. Commission staff carries out the first regional demonstration project in the nation, utilizing direct citizen input together with
computerized ballots, television, and professional analysis to study various social problems. The program, called People Planning, used hour-long television documentaries to present planning issues and provided ballots to all newspaper subscribers. A major goal of the project was to stimulate more citizen participation in the affairs of local government.
Charles Haeussler named Executive Director.
Staff submits the 208 Regional Wastewater Management Plan to the Environmental Protection Agency. The three-volume study was a result of a twoyear planning effort which served the localities as a guide in developing the necessary means to clean up streams in their jurisdictions. The Fifth PDC was the first regionally designated agency
in the country to develop a 208 plan. The plan called for the establishment of advisory boards for both the Roanoke River and James River basins.
The Roanoke Valley Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is established and recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation as the entity responsible for transportation-related planning within the Roanoke urbanized area. The MPO is a policy-making body which reviews and approves all transportation activities affecting the Roanoke Valley. Commission staff conducts the technical work of the MPO.
The Fifth PDC implements a Geographic Information System (GIS) using a portion of eastern Roanoke County as a demonstration project. The microcomputer-based GIS was the first of its kind in the State. The PDC staff was instrumental in helping several of its localities acquire their own systems.
Wayne G. Strickland named Executive Director.
Purchased 3-story office building and 17-space parking lot at 313 Luck Avenue in downtown Roanoke.
Gordon Dixon named Executive Director.
Staff worked with the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Committee to complete the region’s first Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), a requirement for grant funding made available by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. This is also the first step involved in having the Commission designated as an Economic Development District (EDD), one of the Commission’s goals in its Strategic Plan. The U.S. Economic Development Administration informed the Commission staff in June 2009 of the approval of the CEDS document and to share additional guidance on designation as an EDD. Staff hopes to have activities necessary for designation substantially completed by the end of FY ’10. Visit http://www. regionalstrategy.org.
Commission staff assisted the City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development and Valley Metro with a Statesman Industrial Park Transit Survey. Businesses located in the Industrial Park were surveyed in regards to interest for a special express bus that would serve that area. Staff designed and launched the survey and provided the results to the City staff. Developed a number of IMPLAN projects that will be carried forward to FY ’10 and worked with partner
regional economic development organizations, as well as localities, to complete a number of data and grant research requests.
Worked with Craig County and with the Craig County Tourism Commission to complete Craig County websites. Visit http://www.craigcountyva. info for the County tourism site and http://www. craigcountyva.gov for the County government website. Staff supported a number of regional tourism initiatives with grant research and technical assistance, including Virginia’s Western Highlands and Fish Virginia First, a new regional fishing promotion. Completed work on the initial grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Asset-Based Development Initiative, which funded brand development, development of a marketing plan, and various other capacity-building activities surrounding the Virginia’s Western Highlands (Greater Alleghany Highlands Tourism Trail Project). A brand rollout event was held on October 10, 2008. with Congressman Rick Boucher launching the new tourism brand for the Counties of Alleghany, Bath, Craig, and Highland, the City of Covington, and the Town of Clifton Forge. Staff continues to support this important economic development initiative. (www. vawesternhighlands.com)
Financial Report (Year Ended June 30, 2009)
REVENUES Grants and Appropriations Federal Grants
State Grants and Appropriations
Local Grants and Appropriations
Miscellaneous and Interest
Operations & Other Expenditures
Excess (Deficit) of Revenues Over Expenses
Transportation staff devoted much time during the fiscal year to the development of the 2035 Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan. The plan guides the region in creating a more efficient, responsive and environmentally-sensitive transportation system over the next 20+ years. The plan examines transportation trends/issues and offers a vision list of specific projects for addressing the region's mobility needs. The plan is anticipated to be completed in FY 2010.
The Regional Commission, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the regionâ€™s rural localities, continued work on a Rural Long-Range Transportation Plan (RLRP). The Plan will identify project priorities and funding in the rural portions of the region over a 20-year planning horizon, and will complement the existing Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan for the Roanoke Valley Urbanized Area. The RLRP is scheduled to be completed in the winter of 2010. The Commission, in partnership with VDOT, has started work on a Route 419 Multimodal Corridor Plan. The Plan is being coordinated with Roanoke County and the Cities of Salem and Roanoke. It will examine issues such as, traffic signal timing and coordination, public transportation, bicycle and pedestrian mobility, freight mobility, and Park-NRide facilities. The Plan will contain an inventory of all existing conditions, as well as conditions in 2018 and 2035, with various future development and improvement alternatives. It is anticipated that the Plan will be finalized in the fall of 2009.
Staff assisted William Byrd Middle School and Salem City Schools in developing Safe Routes to School Travel Plans. The Plans identified strategies to encourage students to walk or bicycle to school and make the school and locality eligible for VDOT Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funding. After completion of the Plan, staff assisted Roanoke County in applying for SRTS funding to construct a multi-use path, crosswalks, curb cuts, lighting, and signage improvements in the vicinity of William Byrd Middle School, on public roads and the Wolf Creek Greenway.
Staff continues to conduct Bicycle and Greenway Planning activities in the region. Activities
include establishing a Regional Bicycle Advisory
Committee (BAC); developing greenway maps and
brochures; leading the first Planners and Engineers Bicycle Ride; organizing Bike Month; and hosting a series of webinars. n
The Regional Commission received a grant from the Virginia Board of People with Disabilities to complete a transportation and housing
assessment of the City of Covington. Staff used
One of the core responsibilities of the MPO is to adopt a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for the Roanoke urbanized area. The TIP is a list of transportation projects that must be approved by the MPO in order to receive federal funding. Projects such as I-81, I-581, US 220, and bridge reconstruction, as well as funding for public transportation and greenways, are included in the TIP. During the federal 2008 fiscal year, $5 million of funding was obligated for transportation through the TIP process. Staff assisted the County of Roanoke and Town of Vinton on the transportation component of the Vinton Area Corridors Plan. The Plan aims to create a strategy for improving the aesthetics and the safety along the following corridors: Bypass Road, Hardy Road, South Pollard Street, Virginia Avenue, Walnut Avenue and Washington Avenue. The Commission evaluated the existing and future traffic conditions along the corridors, bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, and warning, regulatory and guide signage.
the Transportation Housing Alliance Toolkit
(developed by Thomas Jefferson PDC) to assess
the current and future transportation and housing needs of people with disabilities, the elderly, and those with limited income or access to public
information. The findings of this report will be
integrated into the Covington Comprehensive
Plan, which is being updated with assistance from RVARC staff. n
Staff worked with Downtown Roanoke Inc. and the City of Roanoke on a Wayfinding Signage
Study. The study identified and mapped locations
for pedestrian-oriented directional signage for the downtown area.
Roanoke Valley Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Policy Board Members Bedford County The Honorable Dale Wheeler
Botetourt County The Honorable Billy Martin, Sr. Ron Smith
Roanoke County The Honorable Richard C. Flora, Vice Chairman The Honorable Joe McNamara City of Roanoke The Honorable David Trinkle, Chairman The Honorable M. Rupert Cutler City of Salem The Honorable Jane Johnson Melinda Payne
Town of Vinton Doug Adams The Honorable Carolyn Fidler
Greater Roanoke Transit Company (Valley Metro) Leon Alder Roanoke Regional Airport Commission Jacqueline Shuck
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission (Intergovernmental Review Agency) J. Lee E. Osborne Virginia Department of Transportation Richard Caywood NON-VOTING MEMBERS
Federal Highway Administration Tammye Davis Federal Transit Administration Tony Cho
Virginia Dept. of Rail & Public Transportation Jeff Sizemore
Regional Rideshare Activities
RIDE Solutions provides citizens, local governments, and businesses in the Roanoke and New River Valleys with sustainable transportation services and resources. Through our free carpool matching and Guaranteed Ride Home service, we connect drivers to their commute options to save them money, improve air quality, reduce the region’s carbon footprint, and maintain our great quality of life. In the past six months, membership has grown by 21%, driven in large part by our sponsorship of the Virginia Tech carpool program. Through its Workplace Partnership Program, RIDE Solutions also serves over 40,000 employees and students at some of the region’s largest employers. RIDE Solutions, along with other commuter assistance agencies in the State, is undertaking a Long-Range Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Plan to guide our work for the next 5 to 20 years. This plan will eventually be incorporated into the Statewide Transportation Plan and Six-Year Improvement Program, formalizing TDM priorities and programs in state-level planning processes. In initial meetings with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and their consultants, the Roanoke Valley Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) was praised for the work it has done to include TDM in its long-range transportation plan update. No other Virginia MPO has incorporated TDM so well into its goals and objectives.
RIDE Solutions recently expanded its online presence with a new website, Bike Roanoke, at www.bikeroanoke.com. Both RIDE Solutions and Bike Roanoke have created Facebook Fan pages that allow us to better communicate events and programs to our audience. In a little over a month, the two Fan pages have together grown to 303 users. These join the existing YouTube channel and Wordpress blog as some of the ways we are getting the word out about our program and encouraging people to spread the news. RIDE Solutions has also started sharing carpool announcements and other information via our Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/ridesolutions. Contact Info: www.ridesolutions.org — Jeremy Holmes, Program Manager, Ph: 540-342-9393 or email@example.com. RIDE Solutions was also the recipient of several awards from the National Association of Development Organizations — the Excellence in Regional Transportation award for its Interactive Bike Map (ridesolutions.org/bikewalk) and the Innovation Award for its Web 2.0 outreach and promotional efforts.
Research Council, and U.S. Department of Energy. The Commission feels that webinars are a good method for educating planners and making the most efficient use of the limited training and travel funds that are available to local government staffs.
Commission staff continues to conduct water supply planning activities for the Greater Roanoke Regional Water Supply Plan and the Upper James River Water Supply Plan. The plans are scheduled to be completed in late 2009 or early 2010. Additionally, the Regional Commission will assist Craig County and the Town of New Castle in developing a regional water supply plan in the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1, 2009. Water supply planning was the topic for the June 9, 2009 edition of WVTF’s public affairs program, Evening Edition. Stakeholders from the Greater Roanoke Regional Water Supply Plan technical committee were guests on the program and discussed water supply planning in the region. The program is available online at www.wvtf.org/ news_and_notes/ee.php.
The Commission’s Regional Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan must be implemented, monitored, updated and resubmitted for approval within five years of the original FEMA approval date (03/29/06) in order for jurisdictions to maintain eligibility for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program, and the Flood Mitigation Assistance Program. RVARC staff compiled the annual report to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and will coordinate the update process next year.
The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional
Commission serves its member governments, citizens and businesses by actively promoting
County Public Safety staff and with the Virginia
Staff continues to work with the City of Covington Planning Commission to update the Covington Comprehensive Plan and the Craig County Planning Commission to update the Craig County Zoning Ordinance.
Staff provided grant management services for the Craig County Health Center project. The Center moved to its larger building in December 2008. The new building was funded through grants from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Roanoke Women’s Foundation, the Carilion Foundation, the Foundation for Roanoke Valley, and the Virginia Health Care Foundation. The citizens of Craig County also donated more than $50,000 to the project. The center is operated by Monroe Health Center as a satellite site. The center operates as a federally qualified health care provider, with grant funds available to make up losses sustained while providing medical care on a sliding-scale fee that makes its services affordable to everyone.
complete the 2009 update of the Alleghany
coordination, and cooperation on issues technical assistance.
RVARC staff worked with the Alleghany
Department of Emergency Management to
affecting the district and by providing local
County Emergency Operations Plan. n
Alleghany County/Town of Iron Gate Water Tank Project — RVARC staff worked with
Alleghany County and the Town of Iron Gate to develop a successful application for a $700,000
grant from the Virginia Department of Health that will fund the replacement of a water tank. n
Commission staff contracted with Design Nine, Inc. to complete Phase II of the Alleghany
Highlands Broadband Study. The study will provide detailed information on methods to improve broadband Internet service in the
Alleghany Highlands, and is expected to be completed by the fall of 2009. n
P.O. Box 2569 313 Luck Ave., SW Roanoke, VA 24010 Ph: 540.343.4417 Fax: 540.343.4416 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.rvarc.org
Staff worked with the City of Covington, the Town of Clifton Forge and Alleghany County to update the regional Enterprise Zone Boundary. The
amended zone boundary must now be reviewed
by the public and approved by each locality before being submitted to the State for approval.
The Commission hosted workshops and webinars from the following organizations: American Planning Association, Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, ESRI ArcGIS, Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Transportation
History of the Regional Commission
The proposal to authorize Virginia local governments to form Planning District Commissions (PDCs) originated with a study conducted by the Virginia Metropolitan Areas Study Commission, established by the 1966 General Assembly to assess the State’s urban problems. The 1968 General Assembly approved the Study Commission’s recommendation that local governments be allowed to establish Planning District Commissions by passing the Virginia Area Development Act (VADA). In 1995, the General Assembly modified VADA through the adoption of the Regional Cooperation Act (Chapter 42, Title 15.2 of the Code of Virginia). The Virginia Division of State Planning and Community Affairs originally drew the planning district boundaries on the basis of geographic, transportation, social and economic interests shared by local governments in different regions of the Commonwealth. Twenty-two PDCs were formed in the Commonwealth. The Fifth Planning District Commission was officially established on August 25, 1969. The first organizational meeting of the Fifth PDC was held on September 26, 1969 at the Fincastle Courthouse, and Mr. Norman C. Scott of Clifton Forge was elected temporary Chairman. On October 23, 1969, the Commission met again and elected permanent officers. Mr. Scott was named Chairman, and Mr. John D. Copenhaver of the City of Roanoke was elected ViceChairman. The Fifth Planning District Commission served 9 member governments — cities of Clifton Forge, Covington, Roanoke and Salem; counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig and Roanoke; and the town of Vinton. The Commission’s boundaries incorporated 1,647 square miles, with an estimated population of 237,959.
In an effort to better define the geographic area it served and to bring its “regional” focus to the forefront, the Fifth Planning District Commission changed its name to the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission on October 28, 1999. The Roanoke ValleyAlleghany Regional Commission now serves 11 member governments — the cities of Covington, Roanoke and Salem; the counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig, Franklin and Roanoke; and the towns of Clifton Forge, Rocky Mount and Vinton. The Commission’s boundaries now encompass 2,325 square miles, with an estimated population of 322,047. (NOTES: Clifton Forge reverted to Town status in 2001. Franklin County joined the Regional Commission in July 2004 as a joint member, and the Town of Rocky Mount became a joint member in July 2007. Both Franklin County and Rocky Mount also retain membership with the West Piedmont Planning District Commission.) Regional Commissions are confederations of local governments whose purpose is to promote regional cooperation through regional planning and assistance to local governments. In all of their activities, the main focus of Regional Commissions is upon intergovernmental cooperation. Regional Commissions are a forum through which neighboring local governments can meet to discuss matters of mutual interest and work together to solve similar problems. A Regional Commission pursues orderly physical, social, and economic development by planning, and by encouraging and assisting local governments to plan for the future. No actions of the Regional Commission affect the power and duties provided to local governments by law.