The Sections

Sections are geographic areas of the Commonwealth where members share common geographies, interests and challenges. The Chapter established the sections to encourage interaction among members at the local and regional levels. The sections promote networking, education, and professional development through local events and interactions. Once a year, the sections hold a statewide symposium, which functions as a day-long conference that focuses on a specific topic. The symposium themes may include coastal or rural planning, economic development, downtown revitalization or other popular topics. 

APA Virginia established 9 sections that serve our members throughout the state. These sections include the Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, Central, Chesapeake, Piedmont, Shenandoah Valley, Roanoke/New River Valley, Southwest and Southside. The exact boundaries for each are largely based on the borders of the Virginia's Planning District Commissions (PDCs). Each section elects one or more members into leadership positions and are referred to as Section Directors.  These leaders serve as representatives that connect the Chapter's members and the Board, raising concerns and sharing ideas from their regions. Primarily, Section Directors serve to organize events and provide personalized service our members.

For additional information, refer to our frequently asked questions

News & Events

APA Virginia to Develop Section's Future

There are several positive changes coming to the sections. The Section Directors and VP of Sections will begin a process to develop new services for its members. This work will include efforts to improve outreach, branding, events and activities, and our mission. If you have ideas for how to improve these services or expand new programs, please contact your section director or the VP of Sections at vpsections@apavirginia.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any specific questions about your section, contact the Section Director in your area or the VP of Sections, at vpsections@apavirginia.org.

How active are sections?

Traditionally, the Chapter's Sections have received less attention than our other programs, but this trend changed rapidly over the past year. After various membership surveys, the Board noticed that most responses showed a desire for section events that provide CM, networking and educational opportunities. Due to your feedback, we decided to invest greater time and resources into providing these events and online resources. What are the results of these efforts? Over the past year the Sections held close to 40 events. The Sections held a successful day-long symposium in Norfolk, which drew over 80 attendees and generated revenue for other services. Finally, the Sections developed new online resources, including this updated Section homepage. We encourage you to contact your Section Director to share your ideas for how to continue improving the Sections and for ways we can better serve you, our members.

How am I assigned to a Section?

All Chapter members are also members of a section. APA Virginia assigns sections to members based on the information from their APA profiles. When members from APA sign up to be a member or edit their accounts, this information goes directly to the state-level chapters. Some people use their homes addresses on their APA profile, while others enter their office address. The chapter uses these addresses to assign members to a section.

I changed jobs or moved but keep getting emails from my old section.  How do I get sign-up to my current Section?

Section membership is based on profiles from the APA National records. If you moved or changed jobs, please go to the American Planning Association website and update your profile. Once those records are updated, the Chapter will soon have your current information and you will be included into a new section.  

Can I attend events in a different section?

Yes.  APA and APA Virginia members can attend any section events, statewide. Each section sends out event notifications and updates to their section members. Even if you do not belong to a particular section, you can view section activities and events on this website. There are links to all 9 sections, where you can find out more about these events in other areas of the state.

How do I become a Section Director?

The sections only have one official officer, the section director. Some sections have multiple co-section directors, to share responsibilities when their regular job gets busy. The sections elect a director during the Chapter elections. If you are interested in being a section director, please contact the VP of Sections, at vpsections@apavirginia.org. We will keep a record of your interest. If the Section Director position opens, then we will contact you and confirm if you are still interested. 

What is the time commitment for being a Section Director?

Section leadership positions allow members to take initiative and ownership in building their sections. Each section is required to hold at least one event per year, but with nearly 40 events in the last year, the existing section leadership is committed to going above and beyond for their members. As volunteer positions, the Chapter recognizes that an individual's first priority is to his or her fulltime job. There is flexibility, in terms of time commitments, but section directors should be prepared to dedicate a few hours per month on these responsibilities. With a co-section director, leadership can share the workload when time is more limited.

How can I become more involved in my section?

The Section Directors have the ability to designate unofficial officers, to assist with events and other services. Contact your section director to inquire about these opportunities.

Where do I find out about section events?

The sections occasionally send out notices to their members about activities and events. Contact your Section Director to confirm that you are on the mailing list. This website also provides updates on events, such as networking and training opportunities. 

Can the Section boundaries change?

Yes, the Chapter can change the section boundaries, per the APA Virginia bylaws. The Board can establish a new section or modify existing sections by a two-thirds vote.

Do Sections function as small Chapters?

No, but sections can develop a structure that is similar to a full organization. A section can adopt Bylaws to govern section affairs, but those bylaws must be consistent with the APA Virginia bylaws or the Articles of Incorporation. Each section must also follow the financial policies established by the Board.