Hampton Roads - Government


The area consists of ten independent cities and seven counties. Each city is independent and has the powers and responsibilities of a county, including maintaining courts, schools, and a sheriff. Some cities do share these responsibilities with an adjoining county. These localities do come together to consult on regional issues.

The military has a large presence in the region. Area military facilities (alphabetically) include Camp Peary in York County, Fleet Training Center Dam Neck in Virginia Beach, Fort Eustis in Newport News, Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach, Fort Monroe in Hampton (closed in September, 2011), Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth (not to be confused with Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, in Kittery, Maine), Naval Station Norfolk, Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, the Coast Guard Integrated Support Command Portsmouth. Saint Julian Creek Naval Depot Annex in Chesapeake, Joint Expeditionary Base East in Virginia Beach, and Naval Weapons Station Yorktown in York County.

The federal government also has two major research laboratories there. NASA/Langley is the home of a variety of aircraft-related research, including several one-of-a-kind wind tunnels. It is on the northeast edge of Hampton, near Poquoson. Also, the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (known as 'Jefferson Lab') conducts cutting edge physics research in Newport News; the lab hosts the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) and a kilowatt-class Free-Electron Laser.

Virginia defines regional planning districts by law. Generally, members are independent cities and counties; incorporated towns are located within counties in Virginia. Localities around the state are allowed to belong to more than one Planning District, as their constituents may have interests which crossover individual planning district boundaries.

The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC) currently includes 16 cities and counties, all in Virginia, and represents over 1.6 million people.

The 16 jurisdictions include: the Cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg, and the Counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Southampton, Surry, and York. It is noteworthy that there are incorporated towns located in three of the counties within the district (Isle of Wight, Southampton and Surry). The differences between the service area of the HRPDC and the federally defined metropolitan area are:

  • Southampton County and the City of Franklin are not in the federally defined metropolitan area.
  • Mathews County is in the metropolitan area but not part of the HRPDC. The metropolitan area also includes Currituck County, North Carolina.

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