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Who We Are


 Rural and small town planning in Virginia has always consisted of juggling multiple responsibilities – some planning related, others not. The Rural Planning Caucus (RPC) was founded in 1978 in Blacksburg, Virginia to provide a much-needed resource to help planners learn and understand the bottom-line about new legislation, share innovative ideas and gain more efficient planning tools and techniques to accomplish everyday tasks. RPC aims to provide an interactive forum for rural and small town planning professionals to gather and share ideas and information that focuses on rural planning matters that affect Virginia’s rural lands and character. RPC celebrates its 46th anniversary in 2024. 


To further our purpose, the Rural Planning Caucus strives to provide educational and professional development opportunities; improve rural and small town planning awareness among both local and state officials, citizens and other professional organizations; and promote legislation that does not result in an undue burden on rural localities. 


RPC is organized into an executive committee made up of twelve members elected to serve a three-year staggered term. Elections are held at the annual conference. The committee meets at least four times a year. At the first executive committee meeting of the year, officers are elected for one-year terms. Officers include the chairman, vice-chairman, secretary and treasurer. The appointment of a conference coordinator and a webmaster are also made. 

As of November 4, 2016, RPC of Virginia is a non-profit 501(c)3 public charity capable of receiving tax-deductible charitable donations. 


Members of the Rural Planning Caucus cover a wide spectrum of the planning profession in Virginia. Members range from planning commissioners, professors, professional planners and administrators to economic development professionals, transportation and transportation demand management (TDM) planners, lawyers, engineers and other land planning professionals. Members represent small towns, counties and larger localities striving to retain rural character in their communities. Over the years, the annual conference has become the Rural Planning Caucus’ primary focus. Held in a rural location in Virginia in the Fall, the annual conference is an excellent educational opportunity that also provides many planners (both rural and urban) with what may be the only opportunity for them to meet and share ideas with other planning professionals. The annual business meeting also is held during the conference to elect executive committee members, receive an annual financial report, and discuss planning-related legislation being proposed for the upcoming legislative session. 


Every year the executive committee selects a conference theme based on the feedback received from the previous conference attendees. Past themes and topics have included sustainable agricultural practices; techniques to revise Comprehensive Plans; low impact development techniques; legislative updates; writing effective conditions, proffers, and staff reports; water supply planning; land conservation tools; form-based code; main street revitalization; reducing the impact of rural development; methods for improving citizen participation among a wide variety of topics. 

Following the completion of the annual conference in October, the executive committee meets in December to review that year's conference and what worked (and didn't). Early in the new year the executive committee meets to draft the conference agenda and begin getting speakers. By June the conference agenda is nearly finalized and conference registration is opened. A final meeting is held over the summer to complete details of the conference. Over the year, several e-mail blasts are sent to those on the RPC email list (includes members and non-members).  If you are not receiving these emails, please contact us ( to be added to our mailing list.    


The Official Bylaws of the Rural Planning Caucus of Virginia were adopted in 1980, revised in 1987 and last revised October 16, 2014. A copy of the current bylaws can be found below: