We will help you build effective solutions by selecting and designing the right process to meet your needs. Our experience covers the full range of processes – “supercharged” public meetings, strategic planning, complex conferences, design charrettes, workshops, and simple or complex collaborative problem-solving. We are as much at home facilitating a structured negotiation or a sensitive dialogue as we are leading a free-form “Open Space” idea-generating process.
IEN initiated Virginia Solutions in Fall 2004, a statewide initiative for community collaboration and consensus building. Easy to understand and cost-effective, Virginia Solutions involves appointing a neutral convener and forming a stakeholder Solution Team, then develops an integrated solution strategy that is embodied in a shared Declaration of Cooperation.
IEN brings people together to develop sustainable solutions through Building Solutions:
consensus building, conflict resolution, community involvement, medation, and facilitation.
IEN Projects Serving local government and their communities
- Watershed Planning: Designing and facilitating public involvement in the development of watershed plans for Fairfax County, Virginia. This involved a multi-stakeholder community steering committees for each of 10 watershed plans. Four public meetings were held to scope issues, draft ideas, review draft and final plans. Public and stakeholder groups involved at all critical stages to: 1) identify key issues, 2) frame the problem(s) to be addressed, 3) propose solutions and strategies, 4) investigate approaches and feasibility to achieve proposed solutions. Products included an interactive web site, brochures, fact sheets, and watershed academy.
- Crozet Master Planning: Facilitated the development of a master plan for Albemarle County, Virginia for the town Crozet.
- Rappahannock Regional Visioning: Designed and facilitated the development of a five-county regional vision for the Rappahannock-Rapidan Region Planning District in Virginia. This involved creation of a steering committee and facilitation of county-level and region-level meetings tied to regional economic competitiveness.
- St. Michael’s Land Use Development: Mediated a land use/ development dispute in St. Michael’s county, Maryland.
- Rural New Town Design: Facilitated a multiparty consensus building effort for rural land use planning in Maryland.
- Shenandoah Brownfield: Facilitated citizen involvement in the redevelopment of the “Big Gem” brownfields site for the town of Shenandoah, Virginia, This served as a national model for brownfields redevelopment. Visioning workshops were followed by workshops on conflict resolution and consensus building to demonstrate how communities can increase skills to facilitate consensus building. A series of community-wide meetings, presentations and facilitated small group discussions were combined with training in conflict resolution and communication.
- Charlottesville Albemarle Courts Resiting: Facilitated a series of three public involvement meetings to identify public concerns, develop a range of options, and to obtain final comments about the siting and design of a new judicial complex for Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia. The stakeholder steering committee met for 2 years with occasional facilitation.
- Fluvanna Courthouse Siting: Designed and facilitated a series of public conversations about the controversial siting of the new county courthouse for Fluvanna County, Virginia which required public referendum. A series of 4 open meetings utilized facilitated presentations followed by Q/A.
- Hog Waste Regulations and Biosolid Land Applications: Designed and facilitated numerous public meetings on issues such as new zoning ordinance provisions for hog waste lagoons in Halifax County Virginia, repermitting a biosolids lagoon in Goochland County, Virginia, and land application of biosolids in Culpepper County, Virginia. In Culpepper County, facilitated panel on biosolids and Q/A.
- Streamlined Permitting: Facilitated an internal government discussion for Henrico County, Virginia, about rationalizing the development review process among departments and agencies. The goal was to streamline the process in a fashion that maintained fairness among development applications and collaboration among agencies.
- City-County Visioning: Facilitated the development of a joint city-county vision for Charlottesville and Albermarle, Virginia.
- City Reversion: Facilitated public discussions about the controversial prospect of city reversion, for Charlottesville, Virginia.
IEN Projects Serving State and Federal Agencies
- Chesapeake Bay Roundtable: Facilitated the Chesapeake Bay Roundtable from 1984 to 1986, which led to the formation of the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Department (CBLAD). Facilitated development of Phase III of Department’s implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act.
- Virginia Minimum Instream Flow Law: Facilitated discussions leading to the development of the Virginia Minimum Instream Flow legislation (1989), which enabled communities to establish minimum inflow stream criteria.
- Waste Tire Trust Fund: Mediated a multiparty consensus building effort to provide recommendations on a policy for the uses of the Waste Tire Trust Fund. This led to the development of the Waste Tire End-User Reimbursement, thereby saving millions of tires from disposal as waste. (1995)
- Virginia Ground Water Steering Committee: Facilitate the ongoing inter-agency steering committee on ground water.
- Roundtable on Sustainable Forests: Facilitated the Communications and Outreach work group of the multi-stakeholder, national Roundtable on Sustainable Forests for the Meridian Institute and the USDA Forest Service from 1999 through 2002, leading to the development and publicaiton of the nations first National Report On Sustainable Forests.
- Superfund Redevelopment: Facilitate public involvement for superfund site redevelopment in various states across the nation for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- Power Plant Siting: Facilitated technical advisory committees for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to develop options for addressing the impacts of new power plants and other facilities on the Commonwealth’s air and water resources.
- Bi-State Blue Crab Advisory Committee: Facilitated outreach and stakeholder involvement for the Chesapeake Bay Commission process over two years to evaluate the decline of the blue crab fishery and to develop a long term bay-wide strategy to restore the ecological and economic sustainability of the fishery.
- Bryan Park Interchange Advisory Committee: Mediated a two-year consensus building effort for the Virginia Department of Transportation to provide recommendations on how to ensure traffic safety and flow through the congested Bryan Park Interchange area, while preserving Richmond’s much beloved Bryan Park. This was a long-standing dispute over 3-highway intersection area and Park and involved a 25-member representative group, 22 meetings, and 3 public meetings. The consensus recommendations were endorsed by Virginia Department of Transportation. A copy of the final report is available here.
- Community Watershed Forums: Developed a model forum for communities to develop watershed management plans and a guide for forum implementation funded by the Chesapeake Bay Program. The first forum was the Rockfish River Forum held in Nelson County Virginia and the second form was the Anacostia River Forum was held in Washington, D.C. Two additional forums were held in collaboration with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. These projects produced watershed action plans and published a handbook Community Watershed Forums — A Planner’s Guide to allow others to follow and replicate similar processes in their watersheds.
- Septic Regulations: Facilitated and mediated a regulatory negotiation for the Virginia Department of Health to develop consensus recommendations for the new onsite septic regulations. A copy of the final report is available here.
- Forest Legacy Program: Designed and facilitated a series of seven stakeholder involvement meetings for the development of Virginia’s Forest Legacy program.
- Chesapeake Bay Toxics Strategy: Facilitated a meeting of Chesapeake Bay watershed leaders to develop strategies for reducing toxics throughout the Chesapeake Bay Basin for the Chesapeake Bay Program.
- Virginia Coastal Program: Facilitated stakeholder involvement in the development of a multi-year strategic plan for the Virginia Coastal Program.
- Biosolids Application: Mediated a multi-party dispute for the Virginia Department of Health concerning the land application of biosolids waste and, more specifically, state enforcement action involving issues of facility relocation. The goal was to respond to concerns about odor, environmental effects and safety of biosolids through state and county coordination of permitting and enforcement.
- Mount Rogers Management Plan: Designed and facilitated community involvement for the first steps of a new national park management plan. (Mount Rogers National Recreation Area )
- Mount Rogers Recreation Mediation: Mediated a multiparty public meeting to resolve conflicts among users of the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail (VHHT) and the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area trails.
- Shenandoah National Park Plan: Facilitated multiparty community discussions about controversial proposed uses for a national park’s natural and cultural resources.
- Chatahoochee Forest Plan: Mediated a multiparty public interest dispute over a proposed cutting in a sensitive area of a national forest in Georgia.
- Ground Water Protection Planning: Facilitated a year-long task force of agencies and citizens to develop a Virginia state plan for protecting ground water from pesticides.
- Lead Based Paint Hazards: Facilitated public involvement and agency meetings for the US Environmental Protection Agency on lead-based paint regulations, including the definition of “hazard” levels of lead content in various substances.
IEN Projects serving the private sector, business and industry
- Tobacco Communities: Facilitated and convened a multi-year effort to build common ground among Virginia tobacco farmers, various tobacco interest groups, and health advocate groups. This led to the successful brokering of 60% of the tobacco settlement funds to assist rural tobacco farming communities to reduce youth smoking. (1994 to 2001)
- Dam Relicensing: Mediated and facilitated a settlement negotiation about involving the relicensing of two dams on the Roanoke River, at Lake Gaston and Roanoke Rapids in Virginia and North Carolina.
- Mental Health Parity: Mediated a multiparty Task Force to provide recommendations on the contentious legislation for mental health parity in Virginia.
- Airport Siting: Mediated multi-party discussions about the siting of an airport in Charlotte, North Carolina.
- Cell Tower Summit: Designed stakeholder involvement sessions for the Virginia Cell Tower summit to evaluate options for the siting and design of cell towers in Virginia for the celluar industry and the Virginia Legislature.
IEN Projects serving nonprofit organizations
- Land Conservation Conference: Designed and facilitated a statewide conference in Virginia to develop priorities for land conservation. http://www.dof.state.va.us/
- Conservation of Land and Open Space: Conducted research on options for conservation land acquisition, and convened in 1997 to 1998 meetings of Virginia’s environmental group to discuss these options. This led to the formation of the land conservation consortium.
- Fluvanna County Heritage Forum I: Designed and facilitated a community forum in Fluvanna County, Virginia, to identify important elements of the community cultural, historical and natural heritage and how it can be preserved.
- Fluvanna County Heritage Forum III on Open Space: Designed and facilitated a community forum in Fluvanna County, Virginia, to identify important elements of open space, and ways to preserve community open space.
- Strategic Planning: Facilitated strategic planning retreats for numerous different civic, community and environmental nonprofit organizations, in Virginia and elsewhere such as the Western Virginia Land Trust, the Virginia Conservation Alliance, Friends of the Rivanna River, the National Committee for the New River, Virginia Trout Unlimited and a network of coal impact advocacy groups from coal producing states.