Population: 6,791,345
Counties: 95
Governor  James Gilmore III (R)

Click here for the amount of protected land in Virginia, and click here to review Virginia's federal transportation spending.
Source:  Pew Center on the States & Changing Direction:  Federal Transportation Spending in the 1990s. Surface Transportation Policy Project

New polling in Virginia shows that the clear majority of Virginians support funding for conservation programs at levels as high as education and transportation.

Virginia's Economic Incentives:  Missed Opportunities for Sustainable Growth, published by the Environmental Law Institute, examines the land-use effects of several major economic incentive programs and funds used in Virginia to attract new businesses and to support the expansion of existing businesses.  To read the report, visit

For an overview of Virginia planning and zoning statutes, see a summary provided by the American Planning Association.

In the 1990's, it looked like Virginia was heading for a complete overhaul of statewide and regional planning. While this never happened, in 1996 the General Assembly enacted the Regional Competitiveness Act (sec. 15.1 - 1227.1) designed to encourage voluntary intermunicpal cooperation. The new law, among other things, authorizes the General Assembly to establish a fund to be used to encourage regional strategic planning and cooperation. These so called "incentive payments' will be awarded to qualify regional partnerships who develop a regional strategic economic development plan which addresses economic competitiveness.

In 1998, a joint resolution was introduced to create a 15-member joint legislative "smart growth" subcommittee.1 The objectives of the initiative, including reduction of sprawl, trimming of infrastructure costs, and revitalization of older communities, are to be realized through designation of "smart growth areas" where state infrastructure funds would be directed.2

The above material is excerpted with permission from "Smart Growth at Century's End: The State of the States" by Patricia E. Salkin, published in The Urban Lawyer, Sumr 1999 v 31 n 3, p. 601.  For a complete copy of the article, please contact The Urban Lawyer. 

NORTHERN VIRGINIA: The intensifying debate over growth in the Washington region has created a new kind of political donor: slow-growth activists. Three of the 10 largest donors to county board campaigns in Northern Virginia were anti-sprawl groups or wealthy individuals who made it their mission to level the financial playing field for slow-growth candidates. For the full story, see "Splits Over Growth Fuel Northern Virginia Races", The Washington Post, October 25, 1999.

MANASSAS:  Five years after Walt Disney Co. cancelled plans to build a $650-million theme park near the site of the battles of Bull Run, urban sprawl may pose an even greater threat to the region's Civil War sites. 
   Developers in northern Virginia, driven by the area's booming economy, have chewedup land at a frantic pace with new condominiums, subdivisions and strip malls.  "It's like being nibbled to death by ducks," said Kat Imhoff, executive director of the Preservation Alliance of Virginia. 
   "You don't even realize the quantity of resources we're  losing because it's so piecemeal." 
   In 1994, Disney pulled the plug on plans to build an American history theme park four miles from Manassas National Battlefield Park, where the Confederate and Union armies  engaged in the first full-scale battle of the Civil War in 1861. 
    Fighting Disney was tough, but tracking the seemingly endless local development  proposals may be even more difficult, said Elliott Gruber, executive vice-president of the Civil War Trust, the country's largest Civil War battlefield preservation group
   "The threats just continue to expand," he said. (By Paul Tolme, Associated Press, 10/99). 

"Loudon Blueprint Reigns in Growth," Washington Post. May 2, 2001.

"Slinging Mud over a Dirt Road," Washington Post. April 24, 2001.

"Planners list ideas to limit sprawl," Richmond Times-Dispatch. March 25, 2001.

"Fairfax's Elusive Downtown," Washington Post. April 1, 2001.

"Fairfax Weighs Buildup Around Metro Stations," The Washington Post. January 19, 2001.

"Farmland Tract to be Preserved in Fauquier: Environmental Group Takes Over 1200 
Scenic Acres Near Appalachian Trail to be Used as Parkland," Washington Post. January 10, 2001.

"Lawmakers Set Sights On Va. Land Preservation," Washington Post. December 27, 2000. 

"Foundation aims to protect Virginia's Civil War battlefields from sprawl," Washington Post. December 27, 2000.

American Farmland Trust
Mid-Atlantic Field Program
1200 18th Street, NW
Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036
Contact: Mary Heinricht at 202-331-7300, ext. 3054

Piedmont Environmental Council
45 Horner Street
PO Box 460
Warrenton, VA 22186
Tel: 540-347-2334

Scenic Virginia
Contact: Lylah Boyd

Southern Environmental Law Center
201West Main Street, Suite 14
Charlottesville, VA 22902-5065
Tel: 804-977-4090


1S. J. 177 (Sen. Mary-Margaret Whipple) (1998).
2 James Lawlor "From the States," Planning, Vol. 64, No. 3 (March 1998).