Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 18. Buildings, Monuments and Lands Generally
11/28/2021

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 and certain authorities 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, and public access authorities created pursuant to this title, including the land holdings and facilities of the public access authorities, 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; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 424.

§ 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.