Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 7. County Manager Plan of Government
11/29/2022

§ 15.2-730. Civil penalties for violations of zoning ordinance.

Notwithstanding subdivision A 5 of § 15.2-2286, a county may adopt an ordinance which establishes a uniform schedule of civil penalties for violations of specified provisions of the zoning ordinances regulating the storage of junk and the repair of motor vehicles. Such schedule of offenses shall not include any zoning violation resulting in injury to any person, and the existence of a civil penalty shall not preclude action by the zoning administrator under subdivision A 4 of § 15.2-2286 or action by the governing body under § 15.2-2208.

This schedule of civil penalties may allow for progressively higher penalties for subsequent offenses whether or not the subsequent offenses arise from the same set of operative facts; however, the penalty for any one violation shall be a fine of not more than fifty dollars. Each day during which the violation is found to have existed shall constitute a separate offense. However, in no event shall specified violations arising from the same operative set of facts be charged more frequently than once in any ten-day period, and in no event shall a series of specified violations arising from the same operative set of facts result in civil penalties which exceed a total of $250. Designation of a particular zoning ordinance violation for a civil penalty pursuant to this section shall be in lieu of criminal sanctions, and except for any violation resulting in injury to any person, such designation shall preclude the prosecution of a violation as a criminal misdemeanor.

Any person summoned for a scheduled violation may make an appearance in person or in writing by mail to the treasurer of the county prior to the date fixed for trial in court. Any person so appearing may enter a waiver of trial, admit liability, and pay the civil penalty established for the offense charged. Such persons shall be informed of their right to stand trial and that a signature to an admission of liability will have the same force and effect as a judgment of court.

If a person charged with a scheduled violation does not elect to enter a waiver of trial and admit liability, the violation shall be tried in the general district court in the same manner and with the same right of appeal as provided for in Title 8.01. In any trial for a scheduled violation authorized by this section, it shall be the burden of the county to show the liability of the violator by a preponderance of the evidence. An admission of liability or finding of liability shall not be a criminal conviction for any purpose.

No provision herein shall be construed to allow the imposition of civil penalties: (i) for enforcement of the Uniform Statewide Building Code; (ii) for activities related to land development or activities related to the construction or repair of buildings and other structures; or (iii) for violation of any provision of a local zoning ordinance relating to the posting of signs on public property or public rights-of-way.

1985, c. 415, § 15.1-687.8; 1992, c. 298; 1997, c. 587.

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.