Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 2. Local Government Charters
7/4/2022

Chapter 2. Local Government Charters.

§ 15.2-200. Required procedure for obtaining new charter or amendment.

No charter shall be granted to a locality by the General Assembly and no charter of a locality shall be amended by the General Assembly except as provided in this chapter or in Chapter 34 (§ 15.2-3400 et seq.) of this title.

Code 1950, § 15-65.1; 1958, c. 329; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-833; 1979, c. 297; 1985, c. 387; 1986, c. 312; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-201. Charter elections; subsequent procedure; procedure when bill not introduced or fails to pass in General Assembly.

A locality may provide for holding an election to be conducted as provided in § 24.2-681 et seq. of Title 24.2 to determine if the voters of the locality desire that it request the General Assembly to grant to the locality a new charter or to amend its existing charter. At least ten days prior to the holding of such election, the text or an informative summary of the new charter or amendment desired shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality.

If a majority of the voters voting in such election vote in favor of such request, the locality shall transmit two certified copies of the results of such election together with the publisher's affidavit and the new charter or the amendments to the existing charter, to one or more members of the General Assembly representing such locality for introduction as a bill in the succeeding session of the General Assembly.

If a bill incorporating such charter or amendments is not introduced at the succeeding session of the General Assembly, the approval of the voters for such charter or amendments shall be void. If, at such session, members of the General Assembly fail to enact or pass by indefinitely and do not carry over such a bill incorporating such charter or amendments, the charter or amendments shall again be presented to the voters for their approval or submitted to a public hearing pursuant to § 15.2-202 before reintroduction in the General Assembly.

Code 1950, § 15-65.2; 1958, c. 329; 1962, cc. 1, 623, § 15.1-834; 1979, c. 297; 1985, c. 387; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-202. Public hearing in lieu of election; procedure when bill not introduced or fails to pass in General Assembly.

In lieu of the election provided for in § 15.2-201, a locality requesting the General Assembly to grant to it a new charter or to amend its existing charter may hold a public hearing with respect thereto, at which citizens shall have an opportunity to be heard to determine if the citizens of the locality desire that the locality request the General Assembly to grant to it a new charter, or to amend its existing charter. At least ten days' notice of the time and place of such hearing and the text or an informative summary of the new charter or amendment desired shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality. Such public hearing may be adjourned from time to time, and upon the completion thereof, the locality may request, in the manner provided in § 15.2-201, the General Assembly to grant the new charter or amend the existing charter and the provisions of § 15.2-201 shall be applicable thereto.

If a bill incorporating such charter or amendments is not introduced at the succeeding session of the General Assembly, the authority of the locality to request such charter or amendments by reason of such public hearing shall thereafter be void. If at such session members of the General Assembly fail to enact and do not carry over or pass by indefinitely a bill incorporating such charter or amendments, the charter or amendments may again be submitted to a public hearing in lieu of an election as provided hereinabove before reintroduction in the General Assembly.

The locality requesting a new or amended charter shall provide with such request a publisher's affidavit showing that the public hearing was advertised and a certified copy of the governing body's minutes showing the action taken at the advertised public hearing.

Code 1950, § 15-65.3; 1958, c. 329; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-835; 1979, c. 297; 1985, c. 387; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-203. Legislation granting or amending charter evidence of compliance with requirements.

The passage of any legislation granting or amending any charter of a locality shall be conclusive evidence of compliance with the requirements of this chapter.

Code 1950, § 15-65.4; 1960, c. 497; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-836; 1985, c. 387; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-204. Uniform charter powers.

Cities and towns shall have all powers set forth in Article 1 (§ 15.2-1100 et seq.) of Chapter 11, known as the uniform charter powers. Such powers do not need to be set out or incorporated by reference in a city or town charter.

Counties shall have all powers set forth in Article 1 (§ 15.2-1100 et seq.) of Chapter 11 only when such powers are specifically conferred upon the county.

1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-205. Use of provisions of chapter not authorized for certain purposes.

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the statutes within this chapter shall not be used as authorization for ordering or holding any election or referendum the results of which would cause or result in the abolition of any office set forth in Article VII, Section 4 of the Constitution of Virginia until the abolition of any such office has first been provided for by a general law or special act on such question alone and approved in a referendum.

1977, c. 684, § 15.1-836.1; 1979, c. 297; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-206. Special elections; request for abolition of certain local constitutional offices.

No bill to enact or amend a charter which has the effect of abolishing any office set forth in Article VII, Section 4 of the Constitution of Virginia shall be considered unless a referendum, elsewhere authorized by law, has been conducted in accordance with the provisions of § 24.2-685, and a majority of the qualified voters voting thereon have approved the request for the enactment or amendment of the charter.

1985, c. 586, § 15.1-836.1:1; 1986, c. 355; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-207. Boundaries of municipal corporations continued; charters not to contain metes and bounds; incorporated by reference.

The boundaries of municipal corporations remain as now established unless changed as provided in this title. No charter of any municipal corporation shall contain the metes and bounds of such municipal corporation, but the boundaries shall be incorporated therein by reference to the recordation in the clerk's office of the court where deeds are admitted to record of the final decree or order of the court establishing such boundaries or the act of the General Assembly by which they are defined. The part of the charter of a municipal corporation defining its boundaries hereafter amended shall not contain the metes and bounds of the municipal corporation, but the boundaries shall be incorporated therein by reference to the recordation of a final decree or order of court or to a General Assembly act.

Code 1950, § 15.1-908; 1958, c. 328; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-836.2; 1979, c. 297; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-208. Boundaries of counties.

No county charter shall contain the description of the county's boundaries.

1985, c. 387, § 15.1-836.3; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-209. Notice to be given to counties, cities, and towns of tort claims for damages.

A. Every claim cognizable against any county, city, or town for negligence shall be forever barred unless the claimant or his agent, attorney, or representative has filed a written statement of the nature of the claim, which includes the time and place at which the injury is alleged to have occurred, within six months after such cause of action accrued. Failure to provide such statement shall not bar a claim against any county, city, or town, provided that the attorney, chief executive, or mayor of such locality, or any insurer or entity providing coverage or indemnification of the claim, had actual knowledge of the claim, which includes the nature of the claim and the time and place at which the injury is alleged to have occurred, within six months after such cause of action accrued. However, if the claimant was under a disability at the time the cause of action accrued, the tolling provisions of § 8.01-229 shall apply.

B. The statement shall be filed with the county, city, or town attorney or with the chief executive or mayor of the county, city, or town.

C. The notice is deemed filed when it is received in the office of the official to whom the notice is directed. The notice may be delivered by hand, by any form of United States mail service (including regular, certified, registered or overnight mail), or by commercial delivery service.

D. In any action contesting the filing of the notice of claim, the burden of proof shall be on the claimant to establish receipt of the notice in conformity with this section. A signed United States mail return receipt indicating the date of delivery, or any other form of signed and dated acknowledgment of delivery, given by authorized personnel in the office of the official with whom the statement is filed, shall be prima facie evidence of filing of the notice under this section.

E. This section does not, and shall not be construed to, abrogate, limit, expand or modify the sovereign immunity of any county, city, town, or any officer, agent or employee of the foregoing.

F. This section, on and after June 30, 1954, shall take precedence over the provisions of all charters and amendments thereto of municipal corporations in conflict herewith granted prior to such date. It is further declared that as to any such charter or amendment thereto, granted on and after such date, that any provision therein in conflict with this section shall be deemed to be invalid as being in conflict with Article IV, Section 12 of the Constitution of Virginia unless such conflict be stated in the title to such proposed charter or amendment thereto by the words "conflicting with § 15.2-209 of the Code" or substantially similar language.

G. The provisions of this section are mandatory and shall be strictly construed. This section is procedural and compliance with its provisions is not jurisdictional.

2007, c. 368; 2016, c. 772.