Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2009

HJR 178/SJR 370: Joint Subcommittee Studying Development and Land Use Tools in Virginia's Localities

June 18, 2009

The Joint Subcommittee Studying Development and Land Use Tools in Virginia’s Localities held its second meeting of 2009 at the General Assembly Building in Richmond.
Prior to the full subcommittee meeting, the workgroups met at the General Assembly Building. Workgroup 1 discussed the proposed draft legislation relating to conditional zoning and impact fees while Workgroups 2 and 3 met together to discuss the proposed draft legislation relating to urban development areas.


Eric Lawrence, Director, Department of Planning and Development, Frederick County
Mr. Lawrence spoke regarding the urban development area Frederick County has had for about 20 years and how the proposed legislation would affect the county. The urban development area in the county is 15,000 acres and provides for 10-20 years of growth. The area provides for a density of four residential units per acre. To meet the proposed legislation, Frederick County would have to shrink its urban development area by 5,000 acres.

Mary Ann Curtin, Dir., Intergovernmental Relations, Chesterfield County
Ms. Curtin provided the report of Workgroup 1, the group charged with discussing the legislation relating to conditional zoning and impact fees. The general consensus of the members of Workgroup 1 was that the proposed legislation does not accomplish the intended goal and needs to be completely reworked. According to some members of the workgroup, new legislation needs to reflect the true cost of growth, while others, including Mike Toalson, representing the Home Builders Association of Virginia, argued that one industry should not be responsible for carrying the cost of all growth. Likewise, Philip F. Abraham, representing the Virginia Association for Commercial Real Estate, emphasized that the commercial real estate industry should not be burdened with paying for services such as schools. The workgroup members strongly indicated their willingness to continue working together, and Jeryl Phillips, President of the American Planning Association's Virginia Chapter, conveyed her group's interest in assisting the joint subcommittee in any way possible.

Lisa Guthrie, Executive Director, VA League of Conservation Voters
Ms. Guthrie provided a detailed report of the work done by Workgroups 2 and 3. These workgroups went through the proposed legislation line by line to propose changes. The workgroups expressed concern over term/definition usage, population numbers of towns being double-counted (they agreed that towns and the counties in which the towns are located need to work together in projecting growth), and certain language being too prescriptive. Ms. Phillips stated that members of her association are ready and willing to provide assistance with the language and any standards that may be proposed. Several members of the public stated that density should be used as classification rather than population. It was agreed that if populations continue to be used, localities with larger populations, e.g., localities having a population of 250,000 or more, need to be addressed in the legislation.

Another concern voiced by members of the workgroups was the notion that the proposed legislation limited localities to 20 years when projecting future growth in urban development areas. Both M. Barrett Hardiman, also representing the Home Builders Association of Virginia, and Ted McCormack, Virginia Association of Counties Director of Governmental Affairs, voiced this concern to the full joint subcommittee and both stated that 20-year time period was not sufficient. According to them, this limitation does not take into account a variety of factors, including the new transfer of development rights legislation.

Next Meeting

The August 19, 2009, meeting of the joint subcommittee has been cancelled due to the announcement of a special session of the General Assembly on that date. Please check the joint subcommittee’s website to confirm the date of the rescheduled meeting. The workgroups met jointly on July 30, 2009, in preparation for the next joint subcommittee meeting.

The Hon. Clifford Athey

For information, contact:
Kevin Stokes, Jeff Sharp, Rebecca Young, DLS Staff

Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2009