The VPC works to maintain the integrity of the land use controls and environmental regulations that are in place, and when necessary, works to improve and enforce them.
A phrase often used to describe the VPC is that it “serves as the eyes and ears of the valleys”. While it is true that the VPC staff, board and members monitor decisions and actions that affect land use in the valleys, the organization also has a broader, more basic function. VPC is a planning organization, and is constantly evaluating the big picture and the integrated uses of the land. The work involves developing strategies to accommodate suitable uses while providing long-term protection for natural resources and agricultural land as well as preservation of rural aesthetics and quality of life factors. There are many decisions and actions taken by government agencies and individuals, that when looked at in isolation may appear innocuous or even beneficial, but when looked at holistically, do not make good sense. Things like widening local roads or bridges or adding an acceleration lane may make sense from the perspective of moving more traffic, but in the context of the rural valleys landscape, such a project is often counterproductive and inconsistent with land use regulations and preservation programs. The VPC is constantly evaluating local policies and decisions in this broader context and working to ensure that the good work that has been done to control growth is not unwittingly undone. Our work program generally includes:
- Preparing targeted studies on land use issues important to the valleys (e.g., the Rural Roads study);
- Participating in specific planning initiatives at various scales (e.g., the plan for the reuse of the Rosewood campus, small watershed action plans, and development of the 10-year county Master Plan);
- Monitoring development and enforcement activities and taking appropriate actions as needed;
- Supporting or opposing specific issues filed for a zoning change during the Comprehensive Zoning Map Process (CZMP)
- Monitoring county and state legislation and participating as appropriate;
- Keeping the VPC membership informed of opportunities for incentives such as easements and tax credits;
- Serving as a resource for members of the community who have questions or concerns about land use in their community.