Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 10.1. Conservation
Subtitle II. Activities Administered by Other Entities
Chapter 18. Virginia Outdoors Foundation
6/16/2024

Chapter 18. Virginia Outdoors Foundation.

§ 10.1-1800. Establishment and administration of Foundation; appointment, terms, chairman, quorum, etc., of board of trustees.

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation is established to promote the preservation of open-space lands and to encourage private gifts of money, securities, land or other property to preserve the natural, scenic, historic, scientific, open-space and recreational areas of the Commonwealth. The Virginia Outdoors Foundation is a body politic and shall be governed and administered by a board of trustees composed of seven trustees from the Commonwealth at large to be appointed by the Governor for four-year terms. Appointments shall be made to achieve a broad geographical representation of members. Vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired term. No trustee-at-large shall be eligible to serve more than two consecutive four-year terms. All trustees-at-large shall post bond in the penalty of $5,000 with the State Comptroller prior to entering upon the functions of office.

The Governor shall appoint a chairman of the board from among the seven trustees-at-large to a two-year term. No member shall be eligible to serve more than two consecutive terms as chairman. A majority of the members of the board serving at any one time shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

1966, c. 525, §§ 10-159 to 10-162; 1970, c. 757; 1988, c. 891; 1991, c. 190; 2000, cc. 21, 294; 2003, cc. 78, 90; 2011, cc. 691, 714.

§ 10.1-1801. Powers of Foundation.

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation shall have the following general powers:

1. To have succession until dissolved by the General Assembly, in which event title to the properties of the Foundation, both real and personal, shall, insofar as consistent with existing contractual obligations and subject to all other legally enforceable claims or demands by or against the Foundation, pass to and become vested in the Commonwealth;

2. To sue and be sued in contractual matters in its own name;

3. To promulgate regulations as it deems necessary for the administration of its functions in accordance with the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.);

4. To accept, hold, and administer gifts and bequests of money, securities, or other property, absolutely or in trust, for the purposes for which the Foundation is created. Unless otherwise restricted by the terms of the gift or bequest, the Foundation is authorized to sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of and to invest or reinvest in such investments as it may determine the moneys, securities, or other property given or bequeathed to it. The principal of such funds, together with the income therefrom and all other revenues, shall be placed in such depositories as the Foundation shall determine and shall constitute a special fund and be subject to expenditure by the Foundation without further appropriation. The Foundation shall not engage in any business except in the furtherance of its objectives;

5. To acquire by gift, devise, purchase, or otherwise, absolutely or in trust, and to hold and, unless otherwise restricted by the terms of the gift or devise, to encumber, convey, or otherwise dispose of, any real property, or any estate or interest therein, as may be necessary and proper in carrying into effect the purposes of the Foundation;

6. To enter into contracts generally and to execute all instruments necessary or appropriate to carry out its purposes;

7. To appoint and prescribe the duties of such officers, agents, and employees as may be necessary to carry out its functions, and to fix and pay such compensation to them for their services as the Foundation may determine; and

8. To perform any lawful acts necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of the Foundation.

1966, c. 525, § 10-163; 1988, c. 891.

§ 10.1-1801.1. Open-Space Lands Preservation Trust Fund.

A. The Foundation shall establish, administer, manage, including the creation of reserves, and make expenditures and allocations from a special nonreverting fund in the state treasury to be known as the Open-Space Lands Preservation Trust Fund, hereinafter referred to as the Fund. The Foundation shall establish and administer the Fund solely for the purpose of providing grants in accordance with this section to localities acquiring fee simple title or other rights, interests, or privileges in property, to localities for persons conveying conservation easements to nonprofit land trusts, or to persons conveying to the Foundation fee simple title or other rights, interests, or privileges in property on agricultural, forestal, or other open-space land pursuant to the Open-Space Land Act (§ 10.1-1700 et seq.) and, if applicable, the Virginia Conservation Easement Act (§ 10.1-1009 et seq.).

B. The Fund shall consist of general fund moneys, gifts, endowments or grants from the United States government, its agencies and instrumentalities, and funds from any other available sources, public or private.

C. Any moneys remaining in the Fund at the end of a biennium shall remain in the Fund, and shall not revert to the general fund. Interest earned on moneys received by the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it.

D. The purpose of grants made from the Fund shall be to aid (i) localities acquiring fee simple title or other rights, interests, or privileges in property; (ii) persons conveying to the Foundation fee simple title or other rights, interests, or privileges in property; or (iii) localities to provide funding for projects approved by the Foundation to persons conveying conservation easements to nonprofit land trusts so long as such easement has a local coholder. Such grants may be used for the costs associated with the conveyance of the property interest, which may include legal costs, appraisal costs, or all or part of the value of the property interest. In cases where a grant is used to purchase all or part of the value of a property interest, moneys from the Fund may also be used by the Foundation to pay for an appraisal, provided that the appraisal is the only appraisal paid for by the Foundation in the acquisition of a particular property interest. To be eligible for a grant award, the property interest shall be (a) compliant with the Open-Space Land Act (§ 10.1-1700 et seq.) or (b) a conservation easement under the Virginia Conservation Easement Act (§ 10.1-1009 et seq.), so long as the holder of such easement is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission or its designated subsidiary entity at the time of the grant award. If the Land Trust Accreditation Commission accreditation is not available at the time of the grant application for such holder under clause (b), the Foundation shall evaluate such holder on a case-by-case basis consistent with its established guidelines. For the purposes of this subsection, "local coholder" means the governing body of the locality in which the easement is located, a public recreational facilities authority, any other local entity authorized by statute to hold open-space easements, or a soil and water conservation district, if authorized to hold an easement under the Open-Space Land Act.

E. The Foundation shall establish guidelines for submittal and evaluation of grant applications. In evaluating grant applications, the Foundation may give priority to applications that:

1. Request a grant to pay only legal and appraisal fees for a property interest that is being donated by the landowner;

2. Request a grant to pay costs associated with conveying a property interest on a family-owned or family-operated farm; or

3. Demonstrate the applicant's financial need for a grant.

F. No open-space land for which a grant has been awarded under this section shall be converted or diverted from open-space land use unless:

1. Such conversion or diversion is in compliance with subsection A of § 10.1-1704; and

2. Any open-space easement on the land substituted for land subject to an easement with respect to which a grant has been made under this section meets the eligibility requirements of this section.

G. Up to $100,000 per year of any interest generated by the Fund may be used for the Foundation's administrative expenses.

1997, c. 338; 1999, c. 927; 2000, c. 181; 2003, cc. 78, 90; 2009, c. 599; 2020, c. 567; 2023, c. 389.

§ 10.1-1801.2. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2003, cc. 78 and 90, cl. 2.

§ 10.1-1802. Annual report.

The Foundation shall submit an annual report to the Governor and General Assembly on or before November 1 of each year. The report shall contain, at a minimum, the annual financial statements of the Foundation for the year ending the preceding June 30.

1966, c. 525, § 10-164; 1984, c. 734; 1985, c. 146; 1988, c. 891; 2004, c. 650.

§ 10.1-1803. Gifts, devises and bequests.

Gifts, devises or bequests, whether personal or real property, and the income therefrom, accepted by the Foundation, shall be deemed to be gifts to the Commonwealth, which shall be exempt from all state and local taxes, and shall be regarded as the property of the Commonwealth for the purposes of all tax laws.

1966, c. 525, § 10-165; 1988, c. 891.

§ 10.1-1804. Cooperation of state agencies, etc.

All state officers, agencies, commissions, departments, and institutions are directed to cooperate with and assist the Virginia Outdoors Foundation in carrying out its purpose, and to that end may accept any gift or conveyance of land or other property in the name of the Commonwealth from the Foundation. Such property shall be held in possession or used as provided in the terms of the trust, contract, or instrument by which it is conveyed.

1966, c. 525, § 10-166; 1988, c. 891.