Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 13. Housing
Agency 5. Department of Housing and Community Development
Chapter 51. Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code
8/3/2020

13VAC5-51-121. Section 112 Appeals.

A. 112.1 Local Board of Fire Prevention Code Appeals (LBFPCA). Each local governing body which enforces the SFPC shall have a LBFPCA to hear appeals as authorized herein or it shall enter into an agreement with the governing body of another county or municipality, with some other agency, or with a state agency approved by the DHCD to act on appeals. An appeal case decided by some other approved agency shall constitute an appeal in accordance with this section and shall be final unless appealed to the State Review Board.

B. 112.2 Membership. The LBFPCA shall consist of at least five members appointed by the local governing body and having terms of office established by written policy. Alternate members may be appointed to serve in the absence of any regular members and, as such, shall have the full power and authority of the regular members. Regular and alternate members may be reappointed. Written records of current membership, including a record of the current chairman and secretary shall be maintained in the office of the local governing body. In order to provide continuity, the terms of the members may be of different length so that less than half will expire in any one-year period. The LBFPCA shall meet as necessary to assure a duly constituted board, appoint officers as necessary and receive such training on the code as may be appropriate or necessary from staff of the locality.

C. 112.2.1 Chairman. The LBFPCA shall annually select one of its regular members to serve as chairman. In case of the absence of the chairman at a hearing, the members present shall select an acting chairman.

D. 112.2.2 Secretary. The local governing body shall appoint a secretary to the LBFPCA to maintain a detailed record of all proceedings.

E. 112.3 Qualifications of members LBFPCA. members shall be selected by the local governing body on the basis of their ability to render fair and competent decisions regarding application of the SFPC and shall, to the extent possible, represent different occupational or professional fields relating to building construction or fire prevention. At least one member should be an experienced builder and one member a licensed professional engineer or architect. Employees or officials of the local governing body shall not serve as members of the LBFPCA.

F. 112.4 Disqualification of member. A member shall not hear an appeal in which that member has conflict of interest in accordance with the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act, Chapter 31 (§ 2.2-3100 et seq.) of Title 2.2 of the Code of Virginia.

G. 112.5 Application for appeal. The owner of a structure, the owner's agent or any other person involved in the maintenance of the structure, or activity, may appeal a decision of the fire official concerning the application of the SFPC or the fire official's refusal to grant modification under Section 106.5 to the provisions of the SFPC. The appeal shall first lie to the LBFPCA and then to the State Review Board except that appeals concerning the application of the SFPC or refusal to grant modifications by the State Fire Marshal shall be made directly to the State Review Board. The appeal shall be submitted to the LBFPCA within 14 calendar days of the application of the SFPC. The application shall contain the name and address of the owner of the structure and the person appealing if not the owner. A copy of the written decision of the fire official shall be submitted along with the application for appeal and maintained as part of the record. The application shall be stamped or otherwise marked by the LBFPCA to indicate the date received. Failure to submit an application for appeal within the time limit established by this section shall constitute acceptance of the fire official's decision.

Note: In accordance with § 27-98 of the Code of Virginia, any local fire code may provide for an appeal to a local board of appeals. If no local board of appeals exists, the State Review Board shall hear appeals of any local fire code violation.

H. 112.6 Notice of meeting. The LBFPCA shall meet within 30 calendar days after the date of receipt of the application for appeal. Notice indicating the time and place of the hearing shall be sent to the parties in writing to the addresses listed on the application at least 14 calendar days prior to the date of the hearing. Less notice may be given if agreed upon by the applicant.

I. 112.7 Hearing procedures. All hearings before the LBFPCA shall be open to the public. The appellant, the appellant's representative, the local governing body's representative and any person whose interests are affected shall be given an opportunity to be heard. The chairman shall have the power and duty to direct the hearing, rule upon the acceptance of evidence and oversee the record of all proceedings.

J. 112.7.1 Postponement. When a quorum of the LBFPCA is not present to hear an appeal, either the appellant or the appellant's representative shall have the right to request a postponement of the hearing. The LBFPCA shall reschedule the appeal within 30 calendar days of the postponement.

K. 112.8 Decision. The LBFPCA shall have the power to uphold, reverse or modify the decision of the fire official by a concurring vote of a majority of those present. Decisions of the LBFPCA shall be final if no appeal is made therefrom and the appellant and the fire official shall act accordingly.

L. 112.8.1 Resolution. The LBFPCA's decision shall be explained in writing, signed by the chairman, and retained as part of the record by the LBFPCA. The following wording shall be part of the written decision: "Any person who was a party to the appeal may appeal to the State Building Code Technical Review Board (State Review Board) by submitting an application to the State Review Board within 21 calendar days upon receipt by certified mail of the written decision. Application forms are available from the Office of the State Review Board, 600 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219, (804) 371-7150." Copies of the written decision shall be furnished to all parties.

M. 112.9 Appeal to the State Review Board. After final determination by the LBFPCA, any person who was a party to the local appeal may appeal to the State Review Board. Application shall be made to the State Review Board within 21 calendar days of receipt of the decision to be appealed. Application for appeal to the State Review Board arising from the SFMO's enforcement of the code or from any local fire code violation if no local board of appeals exists shall be made to the State Review Board within 14 calendar days of receipt of the decision to be appealed and shall be accompanied by copies of the inspection reports and other relevant information. Failure to submit an application for appeal within the time limit established by this section shall constitute an acceptance of the LBFPCA's resolution or fire official's decision.

N. 112.9.1 Information to be submitted. Copies of the fire official's decision and the written decision of the LBFPCA shall be submitted with the application for appeal. Upon request by the office of the State Review Board, the LBFPCA shall submit a copy of all inspection reports and all pertinent information from the record of the LBFPCA.

O. 112.9.2 Decision of State Review Board. Procedures of the State Review Board are in accordance with Article 2 (§ 36-108 et seq.) of Chapter 6 of Title 36 of the Code of Virginia. Decisions of the State Review Board shall be final if no appeal is made therefrom and the appellant and the code official shall act accordingly.

Statutory Authority

§ 27-97 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 16, Issue 20, eff. September 15, 2000; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 25, eff. October 1, 2003; Volume 22, Issue 03, eff. November 16, 2005; Volume 27, Issue 02, eff. March 1, 2011; Change in Effective Date, 27:5 VA.R. 533 November 8, 2010; amended, Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 16, eff. July 14, 2014; Volume 34, Issue 18, eff. October 16, 2018.

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