Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 22. Planning, Subdivision of Land and Zoning
7/22/2017

§ 15.2-2305. Affordable dwelling unit ordinances.

A. In furtherance of the purpose of providing affordable shelter for all residents of the Commonwealth, the governing body of any locality, other than localities to which § 15.2-2304 applies, may by amendment to the zoning ordinances of such locality provide for an affordable housing dwelling unit program. Such program shall address housing needs, promote a full range of housing choices, and encourage the construction and continued existence of housing affordable to low and moderate income citizens, determined in accordance with the locality's definition of affordable housing, by providing for increases in density to the applicant in exchange for the applicant providing such affordable housing. Any local ordinance providing optional increases in density for provision of low and moderate income housing adopted before December 31, 1988, shall continue in full force and effect. Any local ordinance may authorize the governing body to (i) establish qualifying jurisdiction-wide affordable dwelling unit sales prices based on local market conditions, (ii) establish jurisdiction-wide affordable dwelling unit qualifying income guidelines, and (iii) offer incentives other than density increases, such as reductions or waiver of permit, development, and infrastructure fees, as the governing body deems appropriate to encourage the provision of affordable housing. Counties to which § 15.2-2304 applies shall be governed by the provisions of § 15.2-2304 for purposes of the adoption of an affordable dwelling unit ordinance.

B. Any zoning ordinance establishing an affordable housing dwelling unit program may include, among other things, reasonable regulations and provisions as to any or all of the following:

1. A definition of affordable housing and affordable dwelling units.

2. For application of the requirements of an affordable housing dwelling unit program to any site, as defined by the locality, or a portion thereof at one location which is the subject of an application for rezoning or special exception or, at the discretion of the local governing body, site plan or subdivision plat which yields, as submitted by the applicant, at an equivalent density greater than one unit per acre and which is located within an approved sewer area.

3. For an increase of up to 30 percent in the developable density of each site subject to the ordinance and for a provision requiring up to 17 percent of the total units approved, including the optional density increase, to be affordable dwelling units, as defined in the ordinance. In the event a 30 percent increase is not achieved, the percentage of affordable dwelling units required shall maintain the same ratio of 30 percent to 17 percent.

4. For increases by up to 30 percent of the density or of the lower and upper end of the density range set forth in the comprehensive plan of such locality applicable to rezoning and special exception applications that request approval of single family detached dwelling units or single family attached dwelling units, when such applications are approved after the effective date of a local affordable housing zoning ordinance amendment.

5. For a requirement that not less than 17 percent of the total number of dwelling units approved pursuant to a zoning ordinance amendment enacted pursuant to subdivision B 4 of this section shall be affordable dwelling units, as defined by the local zoning ordinance unless reduced by the 30 to 17 percent ratio pursuant to subdivision B 3 of this section.

6. For establishment of a local housing fund as part of its affordable housing dwelling unit program to assist in achieving the affordable housing goals of the locality pursuant to this section. The local housing fund may be a dedicated fund within the other funds of the locality, but any funds received pursuant to this section shall be used for achieving the affordable housing goals of the locality.

7. For reasonable regulations requiring the affordable dwelling units to be built and offered for sale or rental concurrently with the construction and certificate of occupancy of a reasonable proportion of the market rate units.

8. For standards of compliance with the provisions of an affordable housing dwelling unit program and for the authority of the local governing body or its designee to enforce compliance with such standards and impose reasonable penalties for noncompliance, provided that a local zoning ordinance provide for an appeal process for any party aggrieved by a decision of the local governing body.

C. For any building which is four stories or above and has an elevator, the applicant may request, and the locality shall consider, the unique ancillary costs associated with living in such a building in determining whether such housing will be affordable under the definition established by the locality in its ordinance adopted pursuant to this section. However, for localities under this section in Planning District Eight, nothing in this section shall apply to any elevator structure four stories or above.

D. Any ordinance adopted hereunder shall provide that the local governing body shall have no more than 280 days in which to process site or subdivision plans proposing the development or construction of affordable housing or affordable dwelling units under such ordinance. The calculation of such period of review shall include only the time that plans are in review by the local governing body and shall not include such time as may be required for revision or modification in order to comply with lawful requirements set forth in applicable ordinances and regulations.

E. A locality establishing an affordable housing dwelling unit program in any ordinance shall establish in its general ordinances, adopted in accordance with the requirements of subsection B of § 15.2-1427, reasonable regulations and provisions as to any or all of the following:

1. For administration and regulation by a local housing authority or by the local governing body or its designee of the sale and rental of affordable units.

2. For a local housing authority or local governing body or its designee to have an exclusive right to purchase up to one-third of the for-sale affordable housing dwelling units within a development within ninety days of a dwelling unit being completed and ready for purchase, provided that the remaining two-thirds of such units be offered for sale exclusively for a ninety-day period to persons who meet the income criteria established by the local housing authority or local governing body or the latter's designee.

3. For a local housing authority or local governing body or its designee to have an exclusive right to lease up to a specified percentage of the rental affordable dwelling units within a development within a controlled period determined by the housing authority or local governing body or its designee, provided that the remaining for-rental affordable dwelling units within a development be offered to persons who meet the income criteria established by the local housing authority or local governing body or its designee.

4. For the establishment of jurisdiction-wide affordable dwelling unit sales prices by the local housing authority or local governing body or the latter's designee, initially and adjusted semiannually, based on a determination of all ordinary, necessary and reasonable costs required to construct the affordable dwelling unit prototype dwellings by private industry after considering written comment by the public, local housing authority or advisory body to the local governing body, and other information such as the area's current general market and economic conditions, provided that sales prices not include the cost of land, on-site sales commissions and marketing expenses, but may include, among other costs, builder-paid permanent mortgage placement costs and buy-down fees and closing costs except prepaid expenses required at settlement.

5. For the establishment of jurisdiction-wide affordable dwelling unit rental prices by a local housing authority or local governing body or its designee, initially and adjusted semiannually, based on a determination of all ordinary, necessary and reasonable costs required to construct and market the required number of affordable dwelling rental units by private industry in the area, after considering written comment by the public, local housing authority, or advisory body to the local governing body, and other information such as the area's current general market and economic conditions.

6. For a requirement that the prices for resales and rerentals be controlled by the local housing authority or local governing body or designee for a period of not less than 15 years nor more than 50 years after the initial sale or rental transaction for each affordable dwelling unit, provided that the ordinance further provide for reasonable rules and regulations to implement a price control provision.

7. For establishment of an affordable dwelling unit advisory board which shall, among other things, advise the jurisdiction on sales and rental prices of affordable dwelling units; advise the housing authority or local governing body or its designees on requests for modifications of the requirements of an affordable dwelling unit program; adopt regulations concerning its recommendations of sales and rental prices of affordable dwelling units; and adopt procedures concerning requests for modifications of an affordable housing dwelling unit program. Members of the board, to be ten in number and to be appointed by the governing body, shall be qualified as follows: two members shall be either civil engineers or architects, each of whom shall be registered or certified with the relevant agency of the Commonwealth, or planners, all of whom shall have extensive experience in practice in the locality; one member shall be a real estate salesperson or broker, licensed in accordance with Chapter 21 (§ 54.1-2100 et seq.) of Title 54.1; one member shall be a representative of a lending institution which finances residential development in the locality; four members shall consist of a representative from a local housing authority or local governing body or its designee, a residential builder with extensive experience in producing single-family detached and attached dwelling units, a residential builder with extensive experience in producing multiple-family dwelling units, and a representative from either the public works or planning department of the locality; one member may be a representative of a nonprofit housing organization which provides services in the locality; and one citizen of the locality. At least four members of the advisory board shall be employed in the locality.

F. A locality establishing an affordable housing dwelling unit program in any ordinance shall establish in its general ordinances, adopted in accordance with the requirements of subsection B of § 15.2-1427, reasonable regulations and provisions as to the following:

The sales and rental price for affordable dwelling units within a development shall be established such that the owner/applicant shall not suffer economic loss as a result of providing the required affordable dwelling units. "Economic loss" for sales units means that result when the owner or applicant of a development fails to recoup the cost of construction and certain allowances as may be determined by the designee of the governing body for the affordable dwelling units, exclusive of the cost of land acquisition and cost voluntarily incurred but not authorized by the ordinance, upon the sale of an affordable dwelling unit.

1990, c. 834, § 15.1-491.9; 1991, c. 599; 1992, c. 244; 1993, c. 437; 1994, cc. 88, 679; 1996, cc. 233, 426; 1997, cc. 587, 607; 2007, cc. 695, 713; 2008, c. 790.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.