Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 22. Planning, Subdivision of Land and Zoning

Article 2. Local Planning Commissions.

§ 15.2-2210. Creation of local planning commissions; participation in planning district commissions or joint local commissions.

Every locality shall by resolution or ordinance create a local planning commission in order to promote the orderly development of the locality and its environs. In accomplishing the objectives of § 15.2-2200 the local planning commissions shall serve primarily in an advisory capacity to the governing bodies.

Any locality may participate in a planning district commission in accordance with Chapter 42 (§ 15.2-4200 et seq.) of this title or a joint local commission in accordance with § 15.2-2219.

1975, c. 641, § 15.1-427.1; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2211. Cooperation of local planning commissions and other agencies.

The planning commission of any locality may cooperate with local planning commissions or legislative and administrative bodies and officials of other localities so as to coordinate planning and development among the localities. The planning commission of any locality shall consult with the installation commander of any military installation that will be affected by potential development within the locality so as to reasonably protect the military installation against any adverse effects that might be caused by the development. Planning commissions may appoint committees and may adopt rules as needed to effect such cooperation. Planning commissions may also cooperate with state and federal officials, departments and agencies. Planning commissions may request from such departments and agencies, and such departments and agencies of the Commonwealth shall furnish, such reasonable information which may affect the planning and development of the locality.

Code 1950, § 15-961.1; 1962, c. 407, § 15.1-428; 1975, c. 641; 1997, c. 587; 2013, cc. 149, 213.

§ 15.2-2212. Qualifications, appointment, removal, terms and compensation of members of local planning commissions.

A local planning commission shall consist of not less than five nor more than fifteen members, appointed by the governing body, all of whom shall be residents of the locality, qualified by knowledge and experience to make decisions on questions of community growth and development; provided, that at least one-half of the members so appointed shall be owners of real property. The local governing body may require each member of the commission to take an oath of office.

One member of the commission may be a member of the governing body of the locality, and one member may be a member of the administrative branch of government of the locality. The term of each of these two members shall be coextensive with the term of office to which he has been elected or appointed, unless the governing body, at the first regular meeting each year, appoints others to serve as their representatives. The remaining members of the commission first appointed shall serve respectively for terms of one year, two years, three years, and four years, divided equally or as nearly equal as possible between the membership. Subsequent appointments shall be for terms of four years each. The local governing bodies may establish different terms of office for initial and subsequent appointments including terms of office that are concurrent with those of the appointing governing body. Vacancies shall be filled by appointment for the unexpired term only.

Members may be removed for malfeasance in office. Notwithstanding the foregoing provision, a member of a local planning commission may be removed from office by the local governing body without limitation in the event that the commission member is absent from any three consecutive meetings of the commission, or is absent from any four meetings of the commission within any 12-month period. In either such event, a successor shall be appointed by the governing body for the unexpired portion of the term of the member who has been removed.

The local governing body may provide for compensation to commission members for their services, reimbursement for actual expenses incurred, or both.

Code 1950, §§ 15-901, 15-916, 15-963; 1956, cc. 282, 497; 1960, c. 309; 1962, c. 407, § 15.1-437; 1973, c. 160; 1974, c. 521; 1986, c. 208; 1988, c. 256; 1997, c. 587; 2006, c. 687.

§ 15.2-2213. Advisory members.

A member of a local planning commission may, with the consent of both governing bodies, serve as an advisory member of the local planning commission of a contiguous locality.

Code 1950, § 15-963.1; 1962, c. 407, § 15.1-438; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2214. Meetings.

The local planning commission shall fix the time for holding regular meetings. The commission, by resolution adopted at a regular meeting, may also fix the day or days to which any meeting shall be continued if the chairman, or vice-chairman if the chairman is unable to act, finds and declares that weather or other conditions are such that it is hazardous for members to attend the meeting. Such finding shall be communicated to the members and the press as promptly as possible. All hearings and other matters previously advertised for such meeting shall be conducted at the continued meeting and no further advertisement is required. The commission shall cause a copy of such resolution to be inserted in a newspaper having general circulation in the locality at least seven days prior to the first meeting held pursuant to the adopted schedule.

Commissions shall meet at least every two months. However, in any locality with a population of not more than 7,500, the commission shall be required to meet at least once each year.

Special meetings of the commission may be called by the chairman or by two members upon written request to the secretary. The secretary shall mail to all members, at least five days in advance of a special meeting, a written notice fixing the time and place of the meeting and the purpose thereof.

Written notice of a special meeting is not required if the time of the special meeting has been fixed at a regular meeting, or if all members are present at the special meeting or file a written waiver of notice.

Code 1950, § 15-963.2; 1962, c. 407, § 15.1-439; 1990, c. 664; 1997, c. 587; 2003, c. 403.

§ 15.2-2215. Quorum majority vote.

A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum and no action of the local planning commission shall be valid unless authorized by a majority vote of those present and voting.

Code 1950, § 15-963.3; 1962, c. 407, § 15.1-440; 1974, c. 99; 1975, c. 641; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2216. Facilities for holding of meetings and preservation of documents; appropriations for expenses.

The governing body may provide the local planning commission with facilities for the holding of meetings and the preservation of plans, maps, documents and accounts, and may appropriate funds needed to defray the expenses of the commission.

Code 1950, § 15-963.4; 1962, c. 407, § 15.1-441; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2217. Officers, employees and consultants; expenditures; rules and records; special surveys.

The local planning commission shall elect from the appointed members a chairman and a vice-chairman, whose terms shall be for one year. If authorized by the governing body the commission may (i) create and fill such other offices as it deems necessary; (ii) appoint such employees and staff as it deems necessary for its work; and (iii) contract with consultants for such services as it requires. The expenditures of the commission, exclusive of gifts or grants, shall be within the amounts appropriated for such purpose by the governing body.

The commission shall adopt rules for the transaction of business and shall keep a record of its transactions which shall be a public record. Upon request of the commission, the governing body or other public officials may, from time to time, for the purpose of special surveys under the direction of the commission, assign or detail to it any members of the staffs of county or municipal administrative departments, or such governing body or other public official may direct any such department employee to make for the commission special surveys or studies requested by the local commission.

Code 1950, § 15-963.5; 1962, c. 407, § 15.1-442; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2218. County planning commission serving as commission of town.

The governing body of any town may designate, with the consent of the governing body of a contiguous county, by ordinance, the county planning commission as the local planning commission of the town.

A county commission designated as a town commission shall have all the powers and duties granted under this chapter to a local planning commission.

Any town designating a county commission as its local planning commission may contract annually to pay the county a proportionate part of the expenses properly chargeable for the planning service rendered the town, and any such payments may be appropriated to the county planning commission in addition to any funds budgeted for planning purposes.

Code 1950, §§ 15-900, 15-903, 15-963.6; 1950, p. 487; 1962, c. 407, § 15.1-443; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2219. Joint local planning commissions.

Any one or more adjoining or adjacent counties or municipalities including any municipality within any such county may by agreement provide for a joint local planning commission for any two or more of such counties and municipalities. The agreement shall provide for the number of members of the commission and how they shall be appointed, in what proportion the expenses of the commission shall be borne by the participating localities, and any other matters pertinent to the operation of the commission as the joint local planning commission for the localities. Any commission so created shall have, as to each participating locality, the powers and duties granted to and imposed upon local planning commissions under this chapter.

Code 1950, §§ 15-900, 15-903, 15-963.6; 1950, p. 487; 1962, c. 407, § 15.1-443; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2220. Duplicate planning commission authorized for certain local governments.

The Cities of Chesapeake and Hampton may by ordinance establish a duplicate planning commission solely for the purpose of considering matters arising from the provisions of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (§ 62.1-44.15:67 et seq.). Sections 15.2-2210 through 15.2-2222 shall apply to the commission, mutatis mutandis.

The procedure, timing requirements and appeal to the circuit court set forth in §§ 15.2-2258 through 15.2-2261 shall apply to the considerations of this commission, mutatis mutandis.

To distinguish the planning commission authorized by this section from planning commissions required by § 15.2-2210, the commission established hereunder shall have the words "Chesapeake Bay Preservation" in its title.

The governing body of a city that establishes a commission pursuant to this section, in its sole discretion by ordinance, may abolish the duplicate planning commission.

1993, c. 738, § 15.1-502.1; 1997, c. 587; 2007, c. 813.

§ 15.2-2221. Duties of commissions.

To effectuate this chapter, the local planning commission shall:

1. Exercise general supervision of, and make regulations for, the administration of its affairs;

2. Prescribe rules pertaining to its investigations and hearings;

3. Supervise its fiscal affairs and responsibilities, under rules and regulations as prescribed by the governing body;

4. Keep a complete record of its proceedings; and be responsible for the custody and preservation of its papers and documents;

5. Make recommendations and an annual report to the governing body concerning the operation of the commission and the status of planning within its jurisdiction;

6. Prepare, publish and distribute reports, ordinances and other material relating to its activities;

7. Prepare and submit an annual budget in the manner prescribed by the governing body of the county or municipality; and

8. If deemed advisable, establish an advisory committee or committees.

Code 1950, § 15-963.7; 1962, c. 407, § 15.1-444; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2222. Expenditures; gifts and donations.

The local planning commission may expend, under regular local procedure as provided by law, sums appropriated to it for its purposes and activities.

A locality may accept gifts and donations for commission purposes. Any moneys so accepted shall be deposited with the appropriate governing body in a special nonreverting commission fund to be available for expenditure by the commission for the purpose designated by the donor. The disbursing officer of the locality may issue warrants against such special fund only upon vouchers signed by the chairman and the secretary of the commission.

Code 1950, §§ 15-905, 15-917, 15-963.8; 1962, c. 407, § 15.1-445; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2222.1. Coordination of state and local transportation planning.

A. 1. Prior to adoption of any comprehensive plan pursuant to § 15.2-2223, any part of a comprehensive plan pursuant to § 15.2-2228, or any amendment to any comprehensive plan as described in § 15.2-2229, the locality shall submit such plan or amendment to the Department of Transportation for review and comment if the plan or amendment will substantially affect transportation on state-controlled highways as defined by regulations promulgated by the Department. The Department's comments on the proposed plan or amendment shall relate to plans and capacities for construction of transportation facilities affected by the proposal.

2. If the submitting locality is located within Planning District 8, the Department of Transportation shall also determine the extent to which the proposed plan or amendment will increase traffic congestion or, to the extent feasible, reduce the mobility of citizens in the event of a homeland security emergency and shall include such information as part of its comments on the proposed plan or amendment. In making such determination, the Department shall specify by name and location any transportation facility within the scope of the review specified in subdivision 1 having a functional classification of minor arterial or higher for which an increase in traffic volume is expected to exceed the capacity of the facility as a result of the proposed plan or amendment. Such information shall be provided concurrently to the submitting locality and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. Further, to the extent that such information is readily available, the Department shall also include in its comments an assessment of the measures and estimate of the costs necessary to mitigate or ameliorate the congestion or reduction in mobility attributable to the proposed plan or amendment.

3. Within 30 days of receipt of such proposed plan or amendment, the Department may request, and the locality shall agree to, a meeting between the Department and the local planning commission or other agent to discuss the plan or amendment, which discussions shall continue as long as the participants may deem them useful. The Department shall make written comments within 90 days after receipt of the plan or amendment, or by such later deadline as may be agreed to by the parties in the discussions.

B. Upon submission to, or initiation by, a locality of a proposed rezoning under § 15.2-2286, 15.2-2297, 15.2-2298, or 15.2-2303, the locality shall submit the proposal to the Department of Transportation within 10 business days of receipt thereof if the proposal will substantially affect transportation on state-controlled highways. Such application shall include a traffic impact statement if required by local ordinance or pursuant to regulations promulgated by the Department. Within 45 days of its receipt of such traffic impact statement, the Department shall either (i) provide written comment on the proposed rezoning to the locality or (ii) schedule a meeting, to be held within 60 days of its receipt of the proposal, with the local planning commission or other agent and the rezoning applicant to discuss potential modifications to the proposal to address any concerns or deficiencies. The Department's comments on the proposed rezoning shall be based upon the comprehensive plan, regulations and guidelines of the Department, engineering and design considerations, any adopted regional or statewide plans, and short-term and long-term traffic impacts on and off site. If the locality is in Planning District 8, the Department's review shall specify by name and location any transportation facility within the scope of the review specified in subdivision A 1 having a functional classification of minor arterial or higher for which an increase in traffic volume is expected to exceed the capacity of the facility as a result of the proposed plan or amendment. The Department shall complete its initial review of the rezoning proposal within 45 days, and its final review within 120 days, after it receives the rezoning proposal from the locality. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subsection, such review by the Department shall be of a more limited nature and scope in cases of rezoning a property consistent with a local comprehensive plan that has already been reviewed by the Department as provided in this section.

C. If a locality has not received written comments within the timeframes specified in subsection B, the locality may assume that the Department has no comments.

D. The review requirements set forth in this section shall be supplemental to, and shall not affect, any requirement for review by the Department of Transportation or the locality under any other provision of law. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prohibit any additional consultations concerning land development or transportation facilities that may occur between the Department and localities as a result of existing or future administrative practice or procedure, or by mutual agreement.

E. The Department shall impose fees and charges for the review of applications, plans and plats pursuant to subsections A and B, and such fees and charges shall not exceed $1,000 for each review. However, no fee shall be charged to a locality or other public agency. Furthermore, no fee shall be charged by the Department to a citizens' organization or neighborhood association that proposes comprehensive plan amendments through its local planning commission or local governing body.

2006, cc. 527, 563; 2007, c. 792; 2010, c. 121; 2011, cc. 647, 888; 2012, c. 770; 2014, c. 766; 2016, c. 370; 2017, c. 536.