A. No rights of a city or town in and to its waterfront, wharf property, public landings, wharves, docks, streets, avenues, parks, bridges, or other public places, or its gas, water, or electric works shall be sold except by an ordinance passed by a recorded affirmative vote of three-fourths of all the members elected to the council, notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, general or special, and under such other restrictions as may be imposed by law. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, general or special, in case of a veto by the mayor of such an ordinance, it shall require a recorded affirmative vote of three-fourths of all the members elected to the council to override the veto.
B. No franchise, lease or right of any kind to use any such public property or any other public property or easement of any description, in a manner not permitted to the general public, shall be granted for a period longer than forty years, except for air rights together with easements for columns for support, which may be granted for a period not exceeding sixty years.
Before granting any such franchise or privilege for a term in excess of five years, except for a trunk railway, the city or town shall, after due advertisement, publicly receive bids therefor, in such manner as is provided by § 15.2-2102, and shall then act as may be required by law.
Such grant, and any contract in pursuance thereof, may provide that, upon the termination of the grant, the plant as well as the property, if any, of the grantee in the streets, avenues and other public places shall thereupon, without compensation to the grantee, or upon the payment of a fair valuation become the property of the city or town; but the grantee shall be entitled to no payment by reason of the value of the franchise. Any such plant or property acquired by a city or town may be sold or leased or, if authorized by general law, maintained, controlled, and operated by such city or town. Every such grant shall specify the mode of determining any valuation therein provided for and shall make adequate provisions by way of forfeiture of the grant, or otherwise, to secure efficiency of public service at reasonable rates and the maintenance of the property in good order throughout the term of the grant.
C. Any additional restriction now required in any existing municipal charter relating to the powers of cities and towns in selling or granting franchises or leasing any of their property is hereby superseded; however, nothing herein contained shall be construed as affecting the term of any existing franchise, lease or right. The requirement of an affirmative three-fourths vote of council shall apply only to the sale of the listed properties and not to their franchise, lease or use.
D. The provisions of this section shall only apply to cities or towns and shall not apply to counties or other political subdivisions.
Code 1950, § 15-727; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-307; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 64; 1997, c. 587; 2001, c. 498.