Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
12/15/2018

Chapter 18. Buildings, Monuments and Lands Generally.

Article 1. Purchase, Sale, Etc., of Real Property.

§ 15.2-1800. Purchase, sale, use, etc., of real property.

A. A locality may acquire by purchase, gift, devise, bequest, exchange, lease as lessee, or otherwise, title to, or any interests in, any real property, whether improved or unimproved, within its jurisdiction, for any public use. Acquisition of any interest in real property by condemnation is governed by Chapter 19 (§ 15.2-1901 et seq.). The acquisition of a leasehold or other interest in a telecommunications tower, owned by a nongovernmental source, for the operation of a locality's wireless radio communications systems shall be governed by this chapter.

B. Subject to any applicable requirements of Article VII, Section 9 of the Constitution, any locality may sell, at public or private sale, exchange, lease as lessor, mortgage, pledge, subordinate interest in or otherwise dispose of its real property, which includes the superjacent airspace (except airspace provided for in § 15.2-2030) which may be subdivided and conveyed separate from the subjacent land surface, provided that no such real property, whether improved or unimproved, shall be disposed of until the governing body has held a public hearing concerning such disposal. However, the holding of a public hearing shall not apply to (i) the leasing of real property to another public body, political subdivision or authority of the Commonwealth or (ii) conveyance of site development easements, or utility easements related to transportation projects, across public property, including, but not limited to, easements for ingress, egress, utilities, cable, telecommunications, storm water management, and other similar conveyances, that are consistent with the local capital improvement program, involving improvement of property owned by the locality. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the vacation of public interests in real property under the provisions of Articles 6 (§ 15.2-2240 et seq.) and 7 (§ 15.2-2280 et seq.) of Chapter 22.

C. A city or town may also acquire real property for a public use outside its boundaries; a county may acquire real property for a public use outside its boundaries when expressly authorized by law.

D. A locality may construct, insure, and equip buildings, structures and other improvements on real property owned or leased by it.

E. A locality may operate, maintain, and regulate the use of its real property or may contract with other persons to do so.

Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, general or special, no locality providing access and opportunity to use its real property, whether improved or unimproved, may deny equal access or a fair opportunity to use such real property to, or otherwise discriminate against, the Boy Scouts of America or the Girl Scouts of the USA. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to require any locality to sponsor the Boy Scouts of America or the Girl Scouts of the USA, or to exempt any such groups from local policies governing access to and use of a locality's real property. The provisions of this paragraph applicable to a locality shall also apply equally to any local governmental entity, including a department, agency, or authority.

F. This section shall not be construed to deprive the resident judge or judges of the right to control the use of the courthouse.

G. "Public use" as used in this section shall have the same meaning as in § 1-219.1.

Code 1950, § 15-692; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-262; 1968, c. 418; 1974, c. 282; 1977, c. 269; 1979, c. 431; 1980, cc. 212, 559; 1984, c. 241; 1986, cc. 477, 573; 1990, c. 813; 1997, c. 587; 1998, c. 696; 2005, c. 822; 2006, c. 57; 2007, cc. 882, 901, 926; 2017, c. 401.

§ 15.2-1800.1. Tenancy in common with school board for certain property.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 22.1-125 or any other provision of law, whenever a locality has incurred a financial obligation, payable over more than one fiscal year, to fund the acquisition, construction or improvement of public school property, the local governing body of the locality shall be deemed to have acquired title to such school property, as a tenant in common with the local school board, for the term of such financial obligation. Such tenancy in common shall arise by operation of law when such financial obligation is incurred by the local governing body, and shall terminate by operation of law when such financial obligation has been paid in full. Neither the creation nor the termination of this tenancy in common shall require the execution or recordation of any deed of conveyance by either the school board or the governing body. If the school property in question is used by more than one school division, such tenancy in common shall arise and terminate on the same basis in each of the participating localities. Nothing in this section shall alter the authority or responsibility of local school boards to control and regulate the use of the property during the existence of such tenancy in common, nor shall it confer to the local governing body any additional powers over school board decisions relative to school board property, including actions taken pursuant to § 22.1-129 of the Code. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any local governing body may elect not to acquire tenancy in common to some or all of the public school property in its locality, by adopting a resolution declining such tenancy in common for current and future financial obligations.

2002, c. 674.

§ 15.2-1800.2. Acquisition of real property near certain facilities.

If a locality in the Commonwealth appropriates funds, from any source, for the acquisition of property rights surrounding Fentress Naval Auxiliary Landing Field ("Fentress") in Chesapeake, the chief executive officer of the locality shall ensure that written notice is provided to the member of the House of Delegates and the member of the Senate of Virginia representing the area in which Fentress is located. Such notice shall be provided promptly, but in no case more than five working days after the appropriation is adopted by the governing body of the locality.

2018, c. 418.

§ 15.2-1801. Acquisition of real property near parks or other public property.

A locality may acquire pursuant to § 15.2-1800 real property adjoining its parks, land on which its monuments are located, or other land used for public purposes; or real property in the vicinity of such parks, land on which its monuments are located or other public real property, which is used in such manner as to impair the beauty, usefulness or efficiency of such parks, land on which its monuments are located or other public real property. The locality so acquiring any such real property may subsequently dispose of the same, in whole or in part, making such limitations as to the uses thereof as it may see fit.

Code 1950, § 15-703; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-277; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 1; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1802. Authority of towns to acquire, lease or sell land for development of business and industry.

A city or county may acquire by contract, with such consideration as is agreed to by the parties, but not by condemnation, land within its boundaries for the development thereon of business and industry. A town may acquire pursuant to § 15.2-1800, but not by condemnation, land within its boundaries or within three miles outside its boundaries, for the development thereon of business and industry. No such land shall be acquired until the governing body has held a public hearing concerning such proposed acquisition. Any land so acquired may be leased or sold at public or private sale to any person, firm or corporation who will locate thereon any business or manufacturing establishment. This section shall constitute the authority for any town to exercise the powers herein conferred notwithstanding any charter provision to the contrary.

If any land so acquired, or any part thereof, is not sold to a person, firm or corporation who will locate thereon any business or manufacturing establishment, and such land is, in the discretion of the governing body, not required for the development thereon of business and industry, the governing body, if deemed proper by it, may dispose of the land so acquired, in whole or in part, making such limitations as to the uses thereof as it may see fit. No such land shall be disposed of until the governing body has held a public hearing concerning such proposed disposal.

Code 1950, § 15-7.2; 1960, c. 545; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-18; 1977, c. 636; 1997, c. 587; 1998, c. 198; 2012, c. 389.

§ 15.2-1803. Approval and acceptance of conveyances of real estate.

Every deed purporting to convey real estate to a locality shall be in a form approved by the attorney for the locality, or if there is no such attorney, then a qualified attorney-at-law selected by the governing body. No such deed shall be valid unless accepted by the locality, which acceptance shall appear on the face thereof or on a separately recorded instrument and shall be executed by a person authorized to act on behalf of the locality. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any conveyance of real estate to any locality under the provisions of Article 6 (§ 15.2-2240 et seq.) of Chapter 22 or prior to December 1, 1997.

Code 1950, § 15-709.1; 1958, c. 360; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-286; 1968, c. 416; 1977, c. 584; 1980, c. 215; 1984, c. 87; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1804. Building by locality.

Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, general or special, when a locality builds facilities for its own use on real property owned by it but located in another locality's jurisdiction, all building inspections required by law shall be conducted without payment of any fees or costs to the locality within whose boundaries the building occurs; however, the locality within whose boundaries the building occurs may require that such inspections be carried out by the agents of the locality building the facility.

1981, c. 256, § 15.1-33.3; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1805. Permitting visually handicapped persons to operate stands for sale of newspapers, etc.

A locality, by ordinance or resolution, may authorize any visually handicapped person to construct, maintain and operate, under the supervision of the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, in the county or city courthouse or in any other property of the locality, a stand for the sale of newspapers, periodicals, confections, tobacco products and similar articles and may prescribe rules for the operation of such stand.

Code 1950, § 15-712; 1954, c. 71; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-289; 1997, c. 587.

Article 2. Parks, Recreation Facilities and Playgrounds.

§ 15.2-1806. Parks, recreation facilities, playgrounds, etc.

A. A locality may establish parks, recreation facilities and playgrounds; set apart for such use any land or buildings owned or leased by it; and acquire land, buildings and other facilities pursuant to § 15.2-1800 for the aforesaid purposes.

In regard to its parks, recreation facilities and playgrounds, a locality may:

1. Fix, prescribe, and provide for the collection of fees for their use;

2. Levy and collect an annual tax upon all property in the locality subject to local taxation to pay, in whole or in part, the expenses incident to their maintenance and operation;

3. Operate their use through a department or bureau of recreation or delegate the operation thereof to a recreation board created by it, to a school board, or any other appropriate existing board or commission.

B. A locality may also establish, conduct, and regulate a system of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails and may set apart for such use any land or buildings owned or leased by it and may obtain licenses or permits for such use on land not owned or leased by it. A locality may also establish, conduct, and regulate a system of trails for all-terrain vehicles, off-road motorcycles, or both, as those terms are defined in § 46.2-100, and may set apart for such use any land or buildings owned or leased by it and may obtain licenses, easements, leases, or permits for such use on land not owned or leased by it. A locality may also establish, conduct, and regulate a system of boating, canoeing, kayaking, or tubing activities on waterways and may set apart for such use any land or buildings owned or leased by it and may obtain licenses or permits for such use on land not owned or leased by it.

In furtherance of the purposes of this subsection, a locality may provide for the protection of persons whose property interests, or personal liability, may be related to or affected by the use of such trails or waterways. Nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed to interfere with the use and enjoyment of private property.

1997, c. 587; 2008, c. 381; 2018, cc. 720, 721.

§ 15.2-1807. Recreation, etc., system; petition and election for establishment.

A. Whenever a petition, signed by voters equal in number to at least ten percent of the number of voters registered in the locality on January 1 preceding its filing, is filed with the applicable circuit court, the court shall by order entered of record, in accordance with Article 5 (§ 24.2-681 et seq.) of Chapter 6 of Title 24.2, require the regular election officials to open the polls and submit to the voters at such election the question of establishing and conducting a system of public recreation and playgrounds and levying a specified annual tax therefor, provided that such tax shall not exceed two cents on each $100 of the assessed valuation of property subject to local taxation.

B. Upon the adoption of such proposition by a majority of the voters voting in the election, the local authorities shall provide for the establishment and conduct of a system of recreation and playgrounds and for the levy and collection of such tax and shall designate the body to be vested with the powers and duties necessary to the conduct thereof.

Code 1950, § 15-700; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-274; 1975, c. 517; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1808. Certain sports facilities.

A locality may provide and operate stadiums and arenas and the lands, structures, equipment and facilities appurtenant thereto; provide for their management and operation by an agency of the locality; contract with others for the operation and management thereof upon such terms and conditions as shall be prescribed by the locality; and charge or authorize the charging of compensation for the use of or admission to such stadiums and arenas and their appurtenances.

Code 1950, § 15-77.50; 1958, c. 328; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-886; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1809. Liability of localities in the operation of parks, recreational facilities and playgrounds.

No city or town which operates any park, recreational facility or playground shall be liable in any civil action or proceeding for damages resulting from any injury to the person or from a loss of or damage to the property of any person caused by any act or omission constituting ordinary negligence on the part of any officer or agent of such city or town in the maintenance or operation of any such park, recreational facility or playground. Every such city or town shall, however, be liable in damages for the gross negligence of any of its officers or agents in the maintenance or operation of any such park, recreational facility or playground.

The immunity created by this section is hereby conferred upon counties in addition to, and not limiting on, other immunity existing at common law or by statute.

Code 1950, § 15-714; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-291; 1979, c. 277; 1990, c. 18; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1809.1. Liability of localities for the site of trails or waterways.

A locality, or a park authority created by the Park Authorities Act (§ 15.2-5700 et seq.), that establishes, conducts, and regulates a system of hiking, biking, or horseback riding trails, a system of trails for all-terrain vehicles, off-road motorcycles, or a system of boating, canoeing, kayaking, or tubing activities on waterways, as provided in subsection B of § 15.2-1806, and the owner or licensor or permit issuer of any property leased or licensed for any such use, shall not be liable for damages resulting from any injury to the person or from a loss of or damage to the property of any person arising from the condition of the property used for such trails or waterways, in the absence of gross negligence or willful misconduct.

2008, c. 381; 2018, cc. 720, 721.

§ 15.2-1810. Leasing land for swimming pool purposes.

Any locality, in its discretion, may lease to any responsible person, firm or corporation any lands owned or held by such locality for the purpose of constructing or erecting thereon a swimming pool and buildings and improvements incident thereto. The terms and provisions of any such lease shall be prescribed by the governing body, provided that any such lease contains a clause to the effect that at the termination of such lease it shall not be renewed and that the land and all improvements thereon shall revert to the locality and shall be free from any encumbrance at the time of such reversion. All moneys received by a locality under this section shall constitute a fund for the development and improvement of recreational facilities within such locality.

Code 1950, § 15-691.1; 1954, c. 410; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-261; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1811. Counties and cities may operate parks, recreational facilities and swimming pools in sanitary districts.

The governing body of any county or city in which a sanitary district has been established under the laws of this Commonwealth may, for the use and benefit of the public in such sanitary district in addition to the other powers and duties granted under other laws:

1. Construct, maintain and operate parks, recreational facilities and swimming pools;

2. Acquire by gift, condemnation, purchase, lease or otherwise and maintain and operate parks, recreational facilities and swimming pools;

3. Contract with any person, firm, corporation or municipality to construct, establish, maintain and operate the parks, recreational facilities and swimming pools;

4. Fix, prescribe and provide for the collection of fees for use of the parks, recreational facilities and swimming pools;

5. Levy and collect an annual tax upon all the property in the district subject to local taxation to pay in whole or in part the expenses and charges incident to maintaining and operating such parks, recreational facilities and swimming pools; and

6. Employ and fix compensation of any technical, clerical or other force or help deemed necessary for the construction, operation and maintenance of the parks, recreational facilities and swimming pools.

Code 1950, § 15-704; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-278; 1997, c. 587.

Article 3. Miscellaneous.

§ 15.2-1812. Memorials for war veterans.

A locality may, within the geographical limits of the locality, authorize and permit the erection of monuments or memorials for any war or conflict, or for any engagement of such war or conflict, to include the following monuments or memorials: Algonquin (1622), French and Indian (1754-1763), Revolutionary (1775-1783), War of 1812 (1812-1815), Mexican (1846-1848), Confederate or Union monuments or memorials of the War Between the States (1861-1865), Spanish-American (1898), World War I (1917-1918), World War II (1941-1945), Korean (1950-1953), Vietnam (1965-1973), Operation Desert Shield-Desert Storm (1990-1991), Global War on Terrorism (2000- ), Operation Enduring Freedom (2001- ), and Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003- ). If such are erected, it shall be unlawful for the authorities of the locality, or any other person or persons, to disturb or interfere with any monuments or memorials so erected, or to prevent its citizens from taking proper measures and exercising proper means for the protection, preservation and care of same. For purposes of this section, "disturb or interfere with" includes removal of, damaging or defacing monuments or memorials, or, in the case of the War Between the States, the placement of Union markings or monuments on previously designated Confederate memorials or the placement of Confederate markings or monuments on previously designated Union memorials.

The governing body may appropriate a sufficient sum of money out of its funds to complete or aid in the erection of monuments or memorials to the veterans of such wars. The governing body may also make a special levy to raise the money necessary for the erection or completion of any such monuments or memorials, or to supplement the funds already raised or that may be raised by private persons, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion or other organizations. It may also appropriate, out of any funds of such locality, a sufficient sum of money to permanently care for, protect and preserve such monuments or memorials and may expend the same thereafter as other funds are expended.

Code 1950, § 15-696; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-270; 1982, c. 19; 1988, c. 284; 1997, c. 587; 1998, c. 752; 2005, c. 390; 2010, c. 860.

§ 15.2-1812.1. Action for damage to memorials for war veterans.

A. If any monument, marker or memorial for war veterans as designated in §§ 15.2-1812 and 18.2-137 is violated or encroached upon, an action for the recovery of damages may be commenced by the following:

1. For a publicly owned monument, marker or memorial, by the attorney for the locality in which it is located; or, if no such action has commenced within sixty days following any such violation or encroachment, by any person having an interest in the matter; and

2. For a privately owned monument, marker or memorial, by the private organization, society or museum that owns it or any member of such organization, society or museum.

Damages may be awarded in such amounts as necessary for the purposes of rebuilding, repairing, preserving and restoring such memorials or monuments to preencroachment condition. Damages other than those litigation costs recovered from any such action shall be used exclusively for said purposes.

B. Punitive damages may be recovered for reckless, willful or wanton conduct resulting in the defacement of, malicious destruction of, unlawful removal of, or placement of improper markings, monuments or statues on memorials for war veterans.

C. The party who initiates and prevails in an action authorized by this section shall be entitled to an award of the cost of the litigation, including reasonable attorney's fees. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to limit the rights of any person, organization, society, or museum to pursue any additional civil remedy otherwise allowed by law.

2000, c. 812.

§ 15.2-1812.2. Willful and malicious damage to or defacement of public or private facilities; penalty.

A. Any locality may by ordinance make unlawful the willful and malicious damage to or defacement of any public buildings, facilities and personal property or of any private buildings, facilities and personal property. The penalty for violation of such ordinance is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The punishment for any such violation in which the defacement is (i) more than 20 feet off the ground, (ii) on a railroad or highway overpass, or (iii) committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with any criminal street gang, as that term is defined by § 18.2-46.1, shall include a mandatory minimum fine of $500.

B. Upon a finding of guilt under any such ordinance in any case tried before the court without a jury, in the event the violation constitutes a first offense that results in property damage or loss, the court, without entering a judgment of guilt, upon motion of the defendant, may defer further proceedings and place the defendant on probation pending completion of a plan of community service work. If the defendant fails or refuses to complete the community service as ordered by the court, the court may make final disposition of the case and proceed as otherwise provided. If the community service work is completed as the court prescribes, the court may discharge the defendant and dismiss the proceedings against him. Discharge and dismissal under this section shall be without adjudication of guilt and is a conviction only for the purposes of applying the ordinance in subsequent proceedings.

C. The ordinance shall direct that the community service, to the extent feasible, include the repair, restoration or replacement of any damage or defacement to property within the locality, and may include clean-up, beautification, landscaping or other appropriate community service within the locality. Any ordinance adopted pursuant to this section shall make provision for a designee of the locality to supervise the performance of any community service work required and to report thereon to the court imposing such requirement. At or before the time of sentencing under the ordinance, the court shall receive and consider any plan for making restitution or performing community service submitted by the defendant. The court shall also receive and consider the recommendations of the supervisor of community service in the locality concerning the plan.

D. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person convicted of a violation of an ordinance adopted pursuant to this section shall be placed on probation or have his sentence suspended unless such person makes at least partial restitution for such property damage or is compelled to perform community services, or both, as is more particularly set forth in § 19.2-305.1.

E. If a locality seeks to clean or cover the defacement, it shall give notice to the owner and lessee, if any, of any private building or facility that has been defaced that, within 15 days of receipt of such notice, if the owner or lessee does not clean or cover the defacement or object to the removal of the defacement, the locality may clean or cover the defacement at the locality's expense.

1995, c. 251, § 18.2-138.1; 1997, cc. 445, 461; 2004, c. 462; 2005, c. 614.

§ 15.2-1813. Notice when public hearing required.

Any public hearing required by this chapter shall be advertised once in a newspaper having general circulation in the locality at least seven days prior to the date set for the hearing.

1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1814. Acquisition authorized by chapter declared to be for public use.

Any acquisition of property authorized by any provision of this chapter is hereby declared to be for a public use as the term "public uses" is used in § 1-219.1.

1997, c. 587; 2007, cc. 882, 901, 926.

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