Successful planning in the state of West Virginia is entirely dependent on the professionals and citizens that take the initiative to address and implement planning programs. To celebrate these individuals and communities, three awards will be given during this year's Mountain State Land Use Academy
Joyce McConnell Award for Professional Contributions to Planning
The Joyce McConnell Award for Professional Contributions to Planning honors a land use planner, attorney, architect, engineer, local government staff person, or other professional who advances land use planning in the State of West Virginia through their professional work. The award is named after West Virginia University Provost Joyce McConnell, a property and land use law professor dedicated to serving the citizens of West Virginia.
The award committee for the Joyce McConnell Award for Professional Contributions to Planning includes a representative from the West Virginia University Extension Service, the LUSDLC, and the immediate past recipient of the award.
The 2018 Joyce McConnell Award for Professional Contributions to Planning recipient was Anna Ziegler of Hinton, West Virginia. Ms. Ziegler is an experienced attorney practicing in areas of real estate, property law, conservation easements, and local government law. She received her Juris Doctor with a certification in environmental law from the University of Montana School of Law in Missoula, Montana, where she was part of the land use law clinic. In 2005, Ms. Ziegler returned to her hometown of Hinton in southern West Virginia to join her father in his law practice, Ziegler & Ziegler, LC. She represents several local governments, quasi-government, and non-profit land trusts. She is a member of the Rotary Club and treasurer for her roller derby team. She is a past member of the board of directors for the United Way of Southern WV and the local humane society for Summers County.
Additional past recipients of the Joyce McConnell Award for Professional Contributions to Planning include Jennifer Brockman of Jefferson County (2017) and Melissa Scott of Hardy County (2016).
West Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association Citizen Planner Award
The Citizen Planner Award, sponsored by the West Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association, honors a volunteer citizen planner for their work to advance planning in the State of West Virginia. The awardee could be a member of a Planning Commission, a member of a Board of Zoning Appeals, or another citizen planner who advances planning without compensation for the planning work.
The award committee for the Citizen Planner Award is comprised of members of the West Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association and the immediate past recipient of the award.
The 2018 Citizen Planner Award recipient was Marie Dockery of McDowell County, West Virginia. Ms. Dockery grew up in McDowell County and was a varsity player on the first West Virginia Girls AA State Championship basketball team at the Northfork “Blue Demons” High School. She graduated from Concord University in Athens, West Virginia. A United States Army veteran, Ms. Dockery has lived all over the world, but came back to McDowell County to make an impact, and she has. Ms. Dockery is a positive force in McDowell County, as she continually tries to rally fellow citizens to take part in community initiatives. Ms. Dockery has strived to make her community a better place and is always trying to learn new things. Ms. Dockery takes that knowledge back to her community to help educate others. Ms. Dockery is active with the North Elkins Community Action Association as well as other McDowell County initiatives.
Additional past recipients of the Citizen Planner Award include Mary Jean Davis of Charleston, West Virginia (2017) and Fawn Valentine of Alderson, West Virginia (2016).
Community Achievements in Planning Award
The Community Achievements in Planning Award recognizes a community in the state that has compiled a remarkable level of community progress in planning, often through adverse situations, to move itself forward. Progress may be shown through adoption of a comprehensive plan, significant steps in implementing a comprehensive plan, or other citizen-based initiatives related to land use planning.
The 2018 Community Achievements in Planning Award recipient was the City of Richwood. Without resources to hire a consultant or staff, Richwood worked with the LUSDLC to create a vision and adopt that vision through a comprehensive plan. Richwood adopted its final comprehensive plan only a few days before the devastating 2016 floods ravaged the “City by the Cherry.” Undaunted by the enormous challenges presented, the city managed to implement several aspects of their comprehensive plan and showed great resilience on the part of residents and city staff. The city began enforcing the building code to ensure the health and safety of its citizens. Over 100 dilapidated structures have been demolished since 2016, while at the same time preserving several structures in the community. Many new businesses have opened up in Richwood since the flood, as well as a small business incubator. The community has started hosting a concert series in the garden park, upgraded the recreational fields, developed a solar panel park in downtown Richwood, rebuilt homes, and created an Artisan Co-Op and Heritage Center to feature unique items made by local crafters and artisans and showcase Richwood’s rich history. The city also completed the design phase of a sidewalk improvement project for Main Street, added a disc golf course to the park, and is creating handicapped-accessible fishing and small craft put-in opportunities.
The inaugural recipient of the Community Achievements in Planning Award was the City of Weston, West Virginia (2017).