Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 10.1. Conservation
Chapter 2. Parks and Recreation

§ 10.1-200.1. State park master planning.

A. For purposes of this section, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Development of a park" means any substantial physical alterations within the park boundaries other than those necessary for the repair or maintenance of existing resources or necessary for the development of the master plan.

"Substantial improvement" means physical improvements and structures valued at $2 million or more that are not already documented in a park's existing master plan.

B. The Department shall undertake a master planning process (i) for all existing state parks, (ii) following the acquisition of land for a new state park, and (iii) prior to undertaking substantial improvements to state parks that are not already documented in a park's existing master plan. A master plan shall be considered a guide for the development, utilization and management of a park and its natural, cultural and historic resources and shall be adhered to closely. Each plan shall be developed in stages allowing for public input.

Stage one of the plan shall include the development of a characterization map indicating, at a minimum, boundaries, inholdings, adjacent property holdings, and other features such as slopes, water resources, soil conditions and types, natural resources, and cultural and historic resources. The stage one plan shall include a characterization of the potential types of uses for different portions of the parks and shall provide a narrative description of the natural, physical, cultural and historic attributes of the park. The stage one plan shall include the specific purposes for the park and goals and objectives to support those purposes.

Upon completion of a stage one plan, a stage two plan shall be developed by the Department which shall include the potential size, types and locations of facilities and the associated infrastructure including roads and utilities, as applicable. Proposed development of any type shall be in keeping with the character of existing improvements, if appropriate, and the natural, cultural and historic heritage and attributes of the park. The stage two plan shall include a proposed plan for phased development of the potential facilities and infrastructure. The Department shall project the development costs and the operational, maintenance, staffing and financial needs necessary for each of the various phases of park development. Projections shall also be made for the park's resource management needs and related costs. The projections shall be made part of the stage two plan.

Upon completion of the stage two plan, the stage one and stage two plans along with supporting documents shall be combined to form a master plan for the park. Development of a park shall not begin until the master plan has been reviewed by the Board of Conservation and Recreation and adopted by the Director.

C. All members of the General Assembly shall be given notice of public meetings and, prior to their adoption, the availability for review of stage one, stage two and master plans and proposed amendments for substantial improvements.

D. The master planning process shall not be considered an impediment to the acquisition of inholdings, adjacent properties to be incorporated into an existing park, or properties acquired for the development of a new park. Such properties, when acquired, shall be incorporated into a park's existing master plan as part of that plan's next scheduled 10-year review and update, or for a new park, a master plan shall be initiated within five years of finalizing the acquisition.

E. Stage one and stage two plans shall be considered complete following review and adoption by the Director. Stage one and stage two plans may only be adopted by the Director following public notice and a public meeting. The Director may make nonsubstantial amendments to master plans following public notice. A master plan or a substantial amendment to a master plan may only be adopted by the Director after considering the recommendations of the Board of Conservation and Recreation following public notice and a public meeting.

F. The Department shall solicit and consider public comment in the development of the stage one and two plans as well as the master plan and any amendments thereto. Such solicitation shall include reasonable notice to appropriate trade associations and private businesses within a 10-mile radius of the park that offer similar categories of service, including private campgrounds, marinas, and recreational facilities.

G. Master plans shall be reviewed and updated by the Department and the Board of Conservation and Recreation no less frequently than once every 10 years and shall be referenced in the Virginia Outdoors Plan.

H. Materials, documents and public testimony and input produced or taken for purposes of park planning prior to January 1, 1999, may be utilized in lieu of the process established in this section provided that it conforms with the requirements of this section and that a master plan shall be developed that conforms with this section which shall not be deemed complete until reviewed and approved in accordance with subsection E.

I. The planning process contained in this section satisfies the Department of General Services master planning requirements for lands owned or managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. The Department of Conservation and Recreation's Facility Development Plans shall continue to meet the Department of General Service's requirements.

1998, c. 780; 2013, c. 43; 2015, cc. 185, 469; 2023, c. 194.

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.