HJR 543

Joint Subcommittee to Study Land Development Patterns

March 25, 1999, Loudoun County
May 5, 1999, Chesapeake
June 9, 1999, Stafford County

The joint subcommittee, originally established in 1998, is charged with (i) examining the cost and impact of land development patterns, (ii) identifying approaches by which local governments can address demands for increased services and infrastructure resulting from residential growth, and (iii) studying the use of proffer zoning and impact fees. The joint subcommittee is further instructed to communicate with the Commission on the Future of the Environment regarding any overlapping issues in order to minimize duplication of effort.

During its first year of study the subcommittee gained considerable input from localities, environmental and citizens groups, development interests, and other interested parties concerning the problems facing high-growth localities. During the second year of its study, the subcommittee will focus on solutions to those problems.

Public Hearings

The subcommittee held a series of three public hearings this spring in high-growth areas. During each hearing localities argued in favor of the state's granting broader land use authority to the localities and for increased state assistance for infrastructure costs. Representatives of the building industry generally stated that localities already have the tools necessary for good planning and that localities should make better use of the authority that already exists. Some speakers also argued that localities sometimes abuse the current cash proffer system and encouraged the subcommittee to recommend reforms in this area. Many speakers, both from localities and the building industry, stated that the current tax structure is unfair to localities and encouraged a reform of the state and local tax structure.

At the conclusion of the three public hearings, based on the testimony and subcommittee discussion, the subcommittee determined that it will focus its discussion of solutions in four main areas:

  1. Proffer zoning/impact fees,
  2. Adequate public facilities,
  3. Transfer of development rights, and
  4. Comprehensive planning and zoning.

Next Meeting

The subcommittee's next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, August 17, at 9:30 a.m. in Richmond, will consist of an all-day working session with consideration of specific proposals from the four main areas. The subcommittee does not anticipate taking additional public testimony at the meeting except as necessary to provide technical assistance.

The Honorable Gladys B. Keating, Chair
Legislative Services contact: Jeff Sharp