Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
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.

§ 15.2-1800.3. Sale of certain property by locality to adjoining landowners.

In any instance in which a parcel of real estate is (i) located within an undeveloped common area in a subdivision, (ii) located in a subdivision with a homeowners' association that has been previously dissolved, and (iii) tax delinquent, a locality may, after giving at least 30 days of notice to adjacent property owners, choose to offer for sale such tax delinquent property in whole or in part to adjacent property owners prior to any public auction of the tax delinquent property. The locality may waive any liens associated with the property in order to facilitate the sale and may further waive payment of any past taxes, penalties, and interest with regard to any new owner.

2020, c. 346.

§ 15.2-1800.4. Restrictive covenants; prohibited; recreational property; Loudoun County.

A restrictive covenant that limits the use of property for recreation, voluntarily conveyed by a nonprofit recreational association to Loudoun County for recreational purposes, is void and against public policy to the extent that it would prohibit the recreational use of the property by the general public.

2023, c. 642.

§ 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.

§ 15.2-1804.1. (For applicability, see Acts 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 473, cl. 2) Building by locality; high performance standards.

A. As used in this section:

"Design phase" means the design of a building construction or renovation project, inclusive of the issuance of a request for proposal and the project budget approval.

"EV" means an electric vehicle.

"High performance building certification program" means a public building design, construction, and renovation program that achieves certification using the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating standard or the Green Building Initiative's "Green Globes" building standard, or meets the requirements of VEES.

"Sufficient ZEV charging and fueling infrastructure" means the provision of ZEV charging or fueling infrastructure, including EV-ready charging electrical capacity and pre-wiring, (i) sufficient to support every passenger-type vehicle owned by the locality and available for use by the locality that will be located at such building upon full occupancy, meet projected demand for such infrastructure during the first 10 years following building occupancy, or (ii) that achieves the current ZEV or EV charging credit for a high performance building certification program.

"VEES" means the Virginia Energy Conservation and Environmental Standards developed by the Department considering the U.S. Green Building Council (LEED) green building rating standard, the Green Building Initiative "Green Globes" building standard, and other appropriate requirements as determined by the Department.

"ZEV" means a zero-emissions vehicle.

B. Any locality entering the design phase for the construction of a new building greater than 5,000 gross square feet in size, or the renovation of a building where the cost of the renovation exceeds 50 percent of the value of the building, shall ensure that such building:

1. Is designed, constructed, verified, and operated to comply with a high performance building certification program;

2. Has sufficient ZEV charging and fueling infrastructure. In making a sufficiency determination, the locality may also consider the interest of the Commonwealth in providing infrastructure for nearby locations, geographical gaps in ZEV charging infrastructure, availability of incentives, and other factors;

3. Has features that permit the agency or institution to measure the building's energy consumption and associated carbon emissions, including metering of all electricity, gas, water, and other utilities; and

4. Incorporates appropriate resilience and distributed energy features.

C. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection B, for any such construction or renovation of a building that is less than 20,000 gross square feet in size, the locality may instead ensure that such building achieves the relevant ENERGY STAR certification and implement mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and envelope commissioning.

D. Upon a finding that special circumstances make the construction or renovation to the standards impracticable, the governing body of such locality may, by resolution, grant an exemption from any such design and construction standards. Such resolution shall be made in writing and shall explain the basis for granting the exemption. If the local governing body cites cost as a factor in granting an exemption, the local governing body shall include a comparison of the cost the locality will incur over the next 20 years or the lifecycle of the project, whichever is shorter, if the locality does not comply with the standards required by subsection B versus the costs to the locality if the locality were to comply with such standards.

E. Any local governing body may, by ordinance, adopt its own green design and construction program that includes standards that are more stringent than any equivalent standard in subsection B. While such program remains in effect, the locality shall be deemed compliant with the provisions of this section.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 473.

§ 15.2-1805. Permitting individuals with visual impairments to operate stands for sale of newspapers, etc.

A locality, by ordinance or resolution, may authorize any individual with a visual impairment 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; 2023, cc. 148, 149.