Auxiliary Town Hall - City of Lexington Planning Department
Through our innovative Auxiliary Town Hall (ATH) program, the Berkley Group has been operating the City of Lexington's planning and zoning functions since 2015. The Berkley Group's own Arne Glaeser has been providing on-site, full-time support in the capacity of Planning Director during this time. Arne manages the day-to-day operations of the City's Planning Department by assisting the public with general planning matters, enforcing the City's Zoning and Subdivision ordinances, reviewing land use and development applications, and staffing Planning Commission, Architectural Review Board, and Board of Zoning Appeals meetings. In addition to the full-time staff support, the Berkley Group has provided off-site support by updating the City's Zoning Ordinance and Comprehensive Plan.
Organizational Strategic Assessment - Town of Amherst
The Town of Amherst tasked The Berkley Group with conducting an Organizational Strategic Assessment (OSA). The purpose of this effort was to evaluate current organizational structure, staffing levels versus workload, policies and procedures, and then make recommendations to improve organizational efficiency along with internal and external customer service. The assessment included staff surveys, interviews with the town manager, department heads and staff. In total 12 interviews were conducted. The OSA follows a five-step guiding process – review, map, identify, evaluate and improve. The assessment team reviewed and analyzed staffing and workload analysis, including reviewing documents and policies provided by town staff such as budgets, financial data, adopted plans, the town charter and operational information gathered from the departments was compiled and reviewed.
Executive Transition Assistance - Town of Abingdon Interim Town Manager and Executive Search Services
Through our innovative Executive Transition Assistance program, the Berkley Group provided on-site support to the Town of Abingdon during the vacancy of their Town Manager position. Berkley Group Executive Manager, and former Pearisburg Town Manager, Ken F. Vittum served as the Interim Town Manager during this transition. During this transition period, Mr. Vittum executed Town Council's vision, managed day-to-day operations of town staff, facilitated citizen requests, attended Council meetings, and implemented/enforced policies and regulations.
In addition to providing Interim Town Manager services, the Berkley Group also conducted an executive search for the new Town Manager. During this executive search process, the Berkley Group provided the Town of Abingdon with the professional and timely services needed to ensure that the Town identified a highly qualified and dedicated town manager – one who fits the culture of the community and the Town organization and who values the mission and vision of the Town.
Planning - Town of Middleburg Comprehensive Plan Update
The Town of Middleburg is located in Loudoun County and is a popular attraction for tourists due to the preservation of its rich historic character, downtown shops, and role as the heart of horse country. Further development within the Town is anticipated in the coming years and will need to be carefully planned to ensure future development continues to align with the Town’s vision and goals. The Berkley Group is working with the Town of Middleburg to update its 2007 Comprehensive Plan which will include a comprehensive plan diagnostic, public input survey, public workshops, Town vision and goals, development scenario analysis, fiscal impact analysis, transportation analysis, GIS mapping and implementation steps. The updated plan was adopted in 2019.
Planning - Town of Haymarket Zoning Ordinance Update
Using a proprietary zoning diagnostic tool, The Berkley Group completed an analysis of the Town of Haymarket Zoning Ordinance for usability and statutory compliance. The Berkley Group also interviewed Town staff to identify other components to address as part of the zoning ordinance update. Following zoning ordinance diagnostic, Berkley Group began the process of revising the town’s zoning code to organize and simplify the development regulatory scheme for this community situated in the fast-growing Northern Virginia region. This work also included an update to the Town’s zoning map, review of existing land use definitions, and modernization of the ordinance. The updated ordinance was adopted in 2017.
Planning - King William County Land Use Tools Diagnostic
The Berkley Group was commissioned by King William County to analyze the County's primary land use tools including the Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Ordinance, and Subdivision Ordinance. As part of this analysis and diagnostic, the Berkley Group performed the following tasks:
Review the County's Comprehensive Plan, focusing on its content, clarity, and intended purpose.
Analyze the structure, content and focus of the County’s existing zoning and subdivision ordinances. Identify actions to strengthen the capacity of the respective ordinances, and to more effectively and efficiently implement the Comprehensive Plan.
Assess the County’s land use tools for compliance with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act and associated regulations.
Assess the clarity, completeness, and ease of use associated with the County’s comprehensive plan, zoning ordinance and subdivision ordinance and, where appropriate, recommend corrective actions.
Planning - Solar Facility Planning & Zoning Analysis
The Berkley Group began working with Mecklenburg County early in 2017 to assist them with utility-scale solar facility applications. This relatively new land use has caught many localities off-guard with few, if any, policies or regulations in place to assist with a proper process and application review. As with many counties, Mecklenburg’s Comprehensive Plan was silent regarding solar facilities and the required state code review (§15.2-2232) is a necessary first step in processing these public utility applications. It is difficult to find a project substantially in accord with the Comprehensive Plan when the plan is silent on such facilities. Additionally, Mecklenburg’s Zoning Ordinance used the state model for solar facilities which is inadequate for utility-scale facilities of hundreds or thousands of acres. After extensive industry research, a series of recommendations were made to the County’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. These recommendations were turned into Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance amendments to create a policy and regulatory framework to effectively review and evaluate utility-scale solar facility applications.
Environmental - George Washington Regional Commission Coastal Zone Management Program Assistance
The Berkley Group provides assistance with the George Washington Regional Commission’s (GWRC) Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program. This work consists of grant writing and management for CZM grants, including development of quarterly and final reports. This effort has encompassed a variety of projects such as the development campaign strategy for a regional native plant campaign and model environmental ordinance. The Berkley Group also assisted GWRC in successfully applying for a CZM competitive grant to implement the native plant campaign which includes a campaign launch event, development of a native plant guide and other marketing materials, and development of a campaign website.
Environmental - Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission Chesapeake Bay TMDL Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan
When VDEQ offered financial support for local water quality improvement planning, the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (along with the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission and the George Washington Regional Commission) reached out to The Berkley Group for expert assistance. The state provided funds to regional entities to engage their member localities in the investigation of data, developing data reporting procedures, and planning voluntary actions to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous pollution entering the Chesapeake Bay. In 2018, The Berkley Group developed a regional Watershed Implementation Plan for the Middle Peninsula PDC that focused on economic development synergies to create self-sustaining programs that would create jobs, support working waterfronts, increase tourism, and improve water quality. We continue to support these localities - Essex, Gloucester, King and Queen, King William, Mathews, and Middlesex counties and the incorporated towns of Tappahannock, Urbanna, and West Point – in implementation of the plan.