Code of Virginia

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

§ 15.2-2232. Legal status of plan.

A. Whenever a local planning commission recommends a comprehensive plan or part thereof for the locality and such plan has been approved and adopted by the governing body, it shall control the general or approximate location, character and extent of each feature shown on the plan. Thereafter, unless a feature is already shown on the adopted master plan or part thereof or is deemed so under subsection D, no street or connection to an existing street, park or other public area, public building or public structure, public utility facility or public service corporation facility other than a railroad facility or an underground natural gas or underground electric distribution facility of a public utility as defined in subdivision (b) of § 56-265.1 within its certificated service territory, whether publicly or privately owned, shall be constructed, established or authorized, unless and until the general location or approximate location, character, and extent thereof has been submitted to and approved by the commission as being substantially in accord with the adopted comprehensive plan or part thereof. In connection with any such determination, the commission may, and at the direction of the governing body shall, hold a public hearing, after notice as required by § 15.2-2204. Following the adoption of the Statewide Transportation Plan by the Commonwealth Transportation Board pursuant to § 33.2-353 and written notification to the affected local governments, each local government through which one or more of the designated corridors of statewide significance traverses, shall, at a minimum, note such corridor or corridors on the transportation plan map included in its comprehensive plan for information purposes at the next regular update of the transportation plan map. Prior to the next regular update of the transportation plan map, the local government shall acknowledge the existence of corridors of statewide significance within its boundaries.

B. The commission shall communicate its findings to the governing body, indicating its approval or disapproval with written reasons therefor. The governing body may overrule the action of the commission by a vote of a majority of its membership. Failure of the commission to act within 60 days of a submission, unless the time is extended by the governing body, shall be deemed approval. The owner or owners or their agents may appeal the decision of the commission to the governing body within 10 days after the decision of the commission. The appeal shall be by written petition to the governing body setting forth the reasons for the appeal. The appeal shall be heard and determined within 60 days from its filing. A majority vote of the governing body shall overrule the commission.

C. Widening, narrowing, extension, enlargement, vacation or change of use of streets or public areas shall likewise be submitted for approval, but paving, repair, reconstruction, improvement, drainage or similar work and normal service extensions of public utilities or public service corporations shall not require approval unless such work involves a change in location or extent of a street or public area.

D. Any public area, facility, park or use as set forth in subsection A which is identified within, but not the entire subject of, a submission under either § 15.2-2258 for subdivision or subdivision A 8 of § 15.2-2286 for development or both may be deemed a feature already shown on the adopted master plan, and, therefore, excepted from the requirement for submittal to and approval by the commission or the governing body, provided that the governing body has by ordinance or resolution defined standards governing the construction, establishment or authorization of such public area, facility, park or use or has approved it through acceptance of a proffer made pursuant to § 15.2-2303.

E. Approval and funding of a public telecommunications facility on or before July 1, 2012, by the Virginia Public Broadcasting Board pursuant to Article 12 (§ 2.2-2426 et seq.) of Chapter 24 of Title 2.2 or after July 1, 2012, by the Board of Education pursuant to § 22.1-20.1 shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of this section and local zoning ordinances with respect to such facility with the exception of television and radio towers and structures not necessary to house electronic apparatus. The exemption provided for in this subsection shall not apply to facilities existing or approved by the Virginia Public Telecommunications Board prior to July 1, 1990. The Board of Education shall notify the governing body of the locality in advance of any meeting where approval of any such facility shall be acted upon.

F. On any application for a telecommunications facility, the commission's decision shall comply with the requirements of the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996. Failure of the commission to act on any such application for a telecommunications facility under subsection A submitted on or after July 1, 1998, within 90 days of such submission shall be deemed approval of the application by the commission unless the governing body has authorized an extension of time for consideration or the applicant has agreed to an extension of time. The governing body may extend the time required for action by the local commission by no more than 60 additional days. If the commission has not acted on the application by the end of the extension, or by the end of such longer period as may be agreed to by the applicant, the application is deemed approved by the commission.

G. A proposed telecommunications tower or a facility constructed by an entity organized pursuant to Chapter 9.1 (§ 56-231.15 et seq.) of Title 56 shall be deemed to be substantially in accord with the comprehensive plan and commission approval shall not be required if the proposed telecommunications tower or facility is located in a zoning district that allows such telecommunications towers or facilities by right.

H. A solar facility subject to subsection A shall be deemed to be substantially in accord with the comprehensive plan if (i) such proposed solar facility is located in a zoning district that allows such solar facilities by right; (ii) such proposed solar facility is designed to serve the electricity or thermal needs of the property upon which such facility is located, or will be owned or operated by an eligible customer-generator or eligible agricultural customer-generator under § 56-594 or 56-594.01 or by a small agricultural generator under § 56-594.2; or (iii) the locality waives the requirement that solar facilities be reviewed for substantial accord with the comprehensive plan. All other solar facilities shall be reviewed for substantial accord with the comprehensive plan in accordance with this section. However, a locality may allow for a substantial accord review for such solar facilities to be advertised and approved concurrently in a public hearing process with a rezoning, special exception, or other approval process.

Code 1950, §§ 15-909, 15-923, 15-964.10; 1958, c. 389; 1960, c. 567; 1962, c. 407, § 15.1-456; 1964, c. 528; 1966, c. 596; 1968, c. 290; 1975, c. 641; 1976, c. 291; 1978, c. 584; 1982, c. 39; 1987, c. 312; 1989, c. 532; 1990, c. 633; 1997, cc. 587, 858; 1998, c. 683; 2007, c. 801; 2009, cc. 670, 690; 2012, cc. 803, 835; 2016, c. 613; 2018, cc. 175, 318; 2020, c. 665; 2022, c. 181.

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.