Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 2.2. Administration of Government
Chapter 27.2. Virginia Business Ready Sites Acquisition Fund and Program
6/13/2024

§ 2.2-2761. Virginia Business Ready Sites Acquisition Program.

A. There is hereby established the Virginia Business Ready Sites Acquisition Program for the purpose of disbursing moneys from the Fund to (i) acquire or option eligible acquisition sites for the purpose of creating and maintaining a portfolio of project-ready sites to promote economic development in all regions of the Commonwealth, (ii) conduct site development activities to improve such sites in order to increase their marketability for large-scale economic development projects, or (iii) enter into project development agreements with private employers for large-scale economic development projects. Eligible acquisition sites may be acquired from public or private owners, provided that any such acquisition shall be a bona fide arm's length transaction freely entered into by the parties and that such acquisition shall not involve any property or interests owned by a member of the General Assembly or by local government officials in the proposed site locality. Site acquisition activities, site development activities, and project development agreements shall be conducted in accordance with the guidelines, procedures, and objective criteria established pursuant to subsection C and the objective of the Program established in § 2.2-2763.

B. Administration of the Program shall be conducted by the Authority in cooperation with the Department in the manner provided by this subsection and subject to review by the Commission pursuant to § 2.2-2764.

1. The Authority, in cooperation with the Department, shall be responsible for identifying potential eligible acquisition sites and initiating, on behalf of the Commonwealth and in a manner that protects the Commonwealth's economic interests, the process of negotiating the purchase or option of a site. Any proposal for the purchase or option of a site shall be reviewed by the Department and approved by the Governor pursuant to § 2.2-1149 prior to review of such proposal by the Commission pursuant to § 2.2-2764 and prior to completing any such purchase or option of a site.

2. The Department shall be responsible for completing the purchase or option of a site and holding the property or option on behalf of the Commonwealth. The Department shall be responsible for conducting all site development activities, in cooperation with the Authority.

3. The Authority shall be responsible for marketing sites to private employers to enter into project development agreements for large-scale economic development projects.

C. The Authority, in consultation with the Department and the Office of the Attorney General, shall establish guidelines, procedures, and objective criteria for conducting the activities described in clauses (i), (ii), and (iii) of subsection A and the division of responsibilities described in subsection B. Such guidelines, procedures, and objective criteria shall be designed to meet the objective of the Program described in § 2.2-2763, shall include an overview of eligible expenses and payment schedules, including a detailed listing of administrative expenses eligible for reimbursement from the Fund, and shall be submitted to the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations and the House Committee on Appropriations, which may provide feedback on such guidelines, procedures, and objective criteria before they are established. The preparation of the guidelines shall be exempt from the requirements of Article 2 (§ 2.2-4006 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act.

D. Any funds received from the sale or long-term lease of properties purchased pursuant to this chapter shall be deposited to the general fund.

E. Prior to the acquisition or optioning of any site pursuant to subsection B, the Authority and the Department shall notify the locality in which the site is located of the Commonwealth's interest in purchasing or optioning the site. Upon receipt of such notice, the locality or its economic development authority may elect, within 14 days of receipt of such notice, to attempt to purchase or option such site in lieu of the Department. If the locality or its economic development authority elects to attempt to purchase or option such site, but does not within 90 days of such election either (i) purchase or option such site or (ii) have a contract in place indicating an intent to purchase or option such site, the Department may purchase the site pursuant to subsection B.

F. The Authority shall report annually by November 1 on site acquisition activities, site development activities, and project development agreements. The report shall include total appropriations made or transferred to the Fund, an itemized list of administrative costs incurred by the Program, total acquisitions made, number and performance of project development agreements, cash balances, and balances available for future commitments. The Authority shall prepare the report required by this subsection in conjunction with the reports required under § 2.2-2237.1.

G. The Auditor of Public Accounts or his authorized representative shall audit the accounts of the Fund in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards as determined necessary by the Auditor of Public Accounts. The cost of such audit services shall be borne by the Fund.

2023, c. 779.

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.