Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 43. Agricultural and Forestal Districts Act
12/15/2018

§ 15.2-4313. Proposals as to land acquisition or construction within district.

A. Any agency of the Commonwealth or any political subdivision which intends to acquire land or any interest therein other than by gift, devise, bequest or grant, or any public service corporation which intends to: (i) acquire land or any interest therein for public utility facilities not subject to approval by the State Corporation Commission, provided that the proposed acquisition from any one farm or forestry operation within the district is in excess of one acre or that the total proposed acquisition within the district is in excess of ten acres or (ii) advance a grant, loan, interest subsidy or other funds within a district for the construction of dwellings, commercial or industrial facilities, or water or sewer facilities to serve nonfarm structures, shall at least ninety days prior to such action notify the local governing body and all of the owners of land within the district. Notice to landowners shall be sent by first-class or registered mail and shall state that further information on the proposed action is on file with the local governing body. Notice to the local governing body shall be filed in the form of a report containing the following information:

1. A detailed description of the proposed action, including a proposed construction schedule;

2. All the reasons for the proposed action;

3. A map indicating the land proposed to be acquired or on which the proposed dwellings, commercial or industrial facilities, or water or sewer facilities to serve nonfarm structures are to be constructed;

4. An evaluation of anticipated short-term and long-term adverse impacts on agricultural and forestal operations within the district and how such impacts are proposed to be minimized;

5. An evaluation of alternatives which would not require action within the district; and

6. Any other relevant information required by the local governing body.

B. Upon receipt of a notice filed pursuant to subsection A, the local governing body, in consultation with the local planning commission and the advisory committee, shall review the proposed action and make written findings as to (i) the effect the action would have upon the preservation and enhancement of agriculture and forestry and agricultural and forestal resources within the district and the policy of this chapter; (ii) the necessity of the proposed action to provide service to the public in the most economical and practical manner; and (iii) whether reasonable alternatives to the proposed action are available that would minimize or avoid any adverse impacts on agricultural and forestal resources within the district. If requested to do so by any owner of land that will be directly affected by the proposed action of the agency, corporation, or political subdivision, the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, or his designee, may advise the local governing body on the issues listed in clauses (i), (ii) and (iii) of this subsection.

C. If the local governing body finds that the proposed action might have an unreasonably adverse effect upon either state or local policy, it shall (i) issue an order within ninety days from the date the notice was filed directing the agency, corporation or political subdivision not to take the proposed action for a period of 150 days from the date the notice was filed and (ii) hold a public hearing, as prescribed by law, concerning the proposed action. The hearing shall be held where the local governing body usually meets or at a place otherwise easily accessible to the district. The locality shall publish notice in a newspaper having a general circulation within the district, and mail individual notice of the hearing to the political subdivisions whose territory encompasses or is part of the district, and the agency, corporation or political subdivision proposing to take the action. Before the conclusion of the 150-day period, the local governing body shall issue a final order on the proposed action. Unless the local governing body, by an affirmative vote of a majority of all the members elected to it, determines that the proposed action is necessary to provide service to the public in the most economic and practical manner and will not have an unreasonably adverse effect upon state or local policy, the order shall prohibit the agency, corporation or political subdivision from proceeding with the proposed action. If the agency, corporation or political subdivision is aggrieved by the final order of the local governing body, an appeal shall lie to the circuit court having jurisdiction of the territory wherein a majority of the land affected by the acquisition is located. However, if such public service corporation is regulated by the State Corporation Commission, an appeal shall be to the State Corporation Commission.

1977, c. 681, § 15.1-1512; 1979, c. 377; 1987, c. 552; 1997, c. 587; 1998, c. 833; 2000, c. 1069.

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.