A. The Department shall review the boundaries of planning districts following every United States decennial census of population. The Department shall also review the boundaries upon the request of a member jurisdiction of a planning district. An initial review shall be conducted prior to July 1, 1996. Upon concluding such review, the Department shall, subject to the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.), make adjustments to the boundaries of planning districts as it deems advisable.
B. The Department shall consider the following criteria in making determinations as to the governmental subdivisions to be included in a planning district: recognition of communities of interest among the governmental subdivisions, recognition of common economic and market interests, the ease of communications and commissioner travel time, metropolitan statistical area boundaries designated by the federal government, a population base adequate to ensure financial viability, and geographic factors and natural boundaries. In making such determination, the Department shall also consider the wishes of a governmental subdivision within or surrounding a proposed planning district, as expressed by resolution of its governing body.
C. In conducting the boundaries review, the Department shall consult with the governing bodies of the governmental subdivisions within and adjoining a planning district which is proposed to be changed and shall hold such public and other hearing as it may deem advisable, provided at least one public hearing shall be held in each planning district which is proposed to be changed.
D. To the extent practical, upon completion of a statutory review of planning district boundaries, state agencies may provide for sorting local statistical data according to planning district geography for external use of information for state, regional and local strategic and economic development planning.
1995, cc. 732, 796.