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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 24. Service Districts; Taxes and Assessments for Local Improvements
7/4/2022

Chapter 24. Service Districts; Taxes and Assessments for Local Improvements.

Article 1. Service Districts.

§ 15.2-2400. Creation of service districts.

Any locality may by ordinance, or any two or more localities may by concurrent ordinances, create service districts within the locality or localities in accordance with the provisions of this article. Service districts may be created to provide additional, more complete or more timely services of government than are desired in the locality or localities as a whole.

Any locality seeking to create a service district shall have a public hearing prior to the creation of the service district. Notice of such hearing shall be published once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation within the locality, and the hearing shall be held no sooner than ten days after the date the second notice appears in the newspaper.

Code 1950, § 15-8.2; 1962, c. 581, § 15.1-18.2; 1981, c. 631, § 15.1-18.3; 1982, c. 96; 1984, c. 385; 1985, c. 150; 1987, cc. 61, 80, 82; 1988, c. 402; 1989, c. 3; 1990, cc. 44, 515; 1991, cc. 12, 29; 1992, cc. 232, 655; 1993, c. 744; 1994, c. 166; 1996, cc. 99, 430, 844; 1997, c. 587; 2000, cc. 853, 925.

§ 15.2-2401. Creation of service districts by court order in consolidated cities.

In any city which results from the consolidation of two or more localities, service districts may, in addition to the method prescribed in § 15.2-2400, be created by order of the circuit court for the city upon the petition of fifty voters of the proposed district, which order shall prescribe the metes and bounds of the district.

Upon the filing of a petition the court shall fix a date for a hearing on the question of the proposed service district, which hearing shall embrace a consideration of whether the property embraced within the proposed district will be benefited by the establishment thereof. Notice of such hearing shall be published once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation within the city, and the hearing shall not be held sooner than ten days after the last publication. Any person interested may answer the petition and make defense thereto. If upon such hearing the court is of opinion that any property embraced within the limits of such proposed district will not be benefited by the establishment thereof, then such property shall not be embraced therein.

Upon the petition of the city council and of not less than 50 voters of the territory proposed to be added, or if such territory contains less than 100 voters, of fifty percent of the voters of such territory, after notice and hearing as provided above, any service district may be extended and enlarged by order of the circuit court for the city which order shall prescribe the metes and bounds of the territory so added.

Code 1950, § 15-8.2; 1962, c. 581, § 15.1-18.2; 1985, c. 150; 1988, c. 402; 1990, c. 515; 1991, cc. 12, 29; 1992, cc. 232, 655; 1993, c. 744; 1994, c. 166; 1996, c. 430; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2402. Description of proposed service district.

Any ordinance or petition to create a service district shall:

1. Set forth the name and describe the boundaries of the proposed district and specify any areas within the district that are to be excluded;

2. Describe the purposes of the district and the facilities and services proposed within the district;

3. Describe a proposed plan for providing such facilities and services within the district; and

4. Describe the benefits which can be expected from the provision of such facilities and services within the district.

Code 1950, § 15-8.2; 1962, c. 581, § 15.1-18.2; 1985, c. 150; 1988, c. 402; 1990, c. 515; 1991, cc. 12, 29; 1992, cc. 232, 655; 1993, c. 744; 1994, c. 166; 1996, c. 430; 1997, c. 587; 2000, cc. 853, 925.

§ 15.2-2402.1. Change to service district boundaries.

Any locality, by majority vote of the governing body, may amend the boundaries of an established service district that lies wholly within that locality's boundaries. If more than one locality is involved in an established service district and those localities desire to amend that service district, a majority vote of the governing body of each locality affected by the amendment is required. Any locality or localities seeking to amend such service district boundaries shall follow the notice and public hearing requirements set out in § 15.2-2400.

2013, cc. 172, 524.

§ 15.2-2403. Powers of service districts.

After adoption of an ordinance or ordinances or the entry of an order creating a service district, the governing body or bodies shall have the following powers with respect to the service districts:

1. To construct, maintain, and operate such facilities and equipment as may be necessary or desirable to provide additional, more complete, or more timely governmental services within a service district, including but not limited to general government facilities; water supply, dams, sewerage, garbage removal and disposal, heat, light, fire-fighting equipment and power and gas systems and sidewalks; economic development services; promotion of business and retail development services; beautification and landscaping; beach and shoreline management and restoration; dredging of creeks and rivers to maintain existing uses; control of infestations of insects that may carry a disease that is dangerous to humans, gypsy moths, cankerworms or other pests identified by the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in accordance with the Virginia Pest Law (§ 3.2-700 et seq.); public parking; extra security, street cleaning, snow removal and refuse collection services; sponsorship and promotion of recreational and cultural activities; upon petition of over 50 percent of the property owners who own not less than 50 percent of the property to be served, construction, maintenance, and general upkeep of streets and roads; construction, maintenance, and general upkeep of streets and roads through creation of urban transportation service districts pursuant to § 15.2-2403.1; and other services, events, or activities that will enhance the public use and enjoyment of and the public safety, public convenience, and public well-being within a service district. Such services, events, or activities shall not be undertaken for the sole or dominant benefit of any particular individual, business or other private entity. Any transportation service, system, facility, roadway, or roadway appurtenance established under this subdivision that will be operated or maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation shall be established with the involvement of the governing body of the locality and meet the appropriate requirements of the Department.

2. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 33.2-326, to provide, in addition to services authorized by subdivision 1, transportation and transportation services within a service district, regardless of whether the facilities subject to the services are or will be operated or maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation, including, but not limited to: public transportation systems serving the district; transportation management services; road construction, including any new roads or improvements to existing roads; rehabilitation and replacement of existing transportation facilities or systems; and sound walls or sound barriers. However, any transportation service, system, facility, roadway, or roadway appurtenance established under this subdivision that will be operated or maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation shall be established with the involvement of the governing body of the locality and meet the appropriate requirements of the Department. The proceeds from any annual tax or portion thereof collected for road construction pursuant to subdivision 6 may be accumulated and set aside for such reasonable period of time as is necessary to finance such construction; however, the governing body or bodies shall make available an annual disclosure statement, which shall contain the amount of any such proceeds accumulated and set aside to finance such road construction.

3. To acquire in accordance with § 15.2-1800, any such facilities and equipment and rights, title, interest or easements therefor in and to real estate in such district and maintain and operate the same as may be necessary and desirable to provide the governmental services authorized by subdivisions 1 and 2.

4. To contract with any person, municipality or state agency to provide the governmental services authorized by subdivisions 1 and 2 and to construct, establish, maintain, and operate any such facilities and equipment as may be necessary and desirable in connection therewith.

5. To require owners or tenants of any property in the district to connect with any such system or systems, and to contract with the owners or tenants for such connections. The owners or tenants shall have the right of appeal to the circuit court within 10 days from action by the governing body.

6. To levy and collect an annual tax upon any property in such service district subject to local taxation to pay, either in whole or in part, the expenses and charges for providing the governmental services authorized by subdivisions 1, 2 and 11 and for constructing, maintaining, and operating such facilities and equipment as may be necessary and desirable in connection therewith; however, such annual tax shall not be levied for or used to pay for schools, police, or general government services not authorized by this section, and the proceeds from such annual tax shall be so segregated as to enable the same to be expended in the district in which raised. Such tax may be levied on taxable real estate zoned for residential, commercial, industrial or other uses, or any combination of such use classification, within the geographic boundaries of the service district; however, such tax shall only be levied upon the specific classification of real estate that the local governing body deems the provided governmental services to benefit. In addition to the tax on property authorized herein, in the City of Virginia Beach, the city council shall have the power to impose a tax on the base transient room rentals, excluding hotels, motels, and travel campgrounds, within such service district at a rate or percentage not higher than five percent which is in addition to any other transient room rental tax imposed by the city. The proceeds from such additional transient room rental tax shall be deposited in a special fund to be used only for the purpose of beach and shoreline management and restoration. Any locality imposing a tax pursuant to this subdivision may base the tax on the full assessed value of the taxable property within the service district, notwithstanding any special use value assessment of property within the service district for land preservation pursuant to Article 4 (§ 58.1-3229 et seq.) of Chapter 32 of Title 58.1, provided the owner of such property has given written consent. In addition to the taxes and assessments described herein, a locality creating a service district may contribute from its general fund any amount of funds it deems appropriate to pay for the governmental services authorized by subdivisions 1, 2, and 11 of this section.

7. To accept the allocation, contribution or funds of, or to reimburse from, any available source, including, but not limited to, any person, authority, transportation district, locality, or state or federal agency for either the whole or any part of the costs, expenses and charges incident to the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, maintenance, alteration, improvement, expansion, and the operation or maintenance of any facilities and services in the district.

8. To employ and fix the compensation of any technical, clerical, or other force and help which from time to time, in their judgment may be necessary or desirable to provide the governmental services authorized by subdivisions 1, 2 and 11 or for the construction, operation, or maintenance of any such facilities and equipment as may be necessary or desirable in connection therewith.

9. To create and terminate a development board or other body to which shall be granted and assigned such powers and responsibilities with respect to a special service district as are delegated to it by ordinance adopted by the governing body of such locality or localities. Any such board or alternative body created shall be responsible for control and management of funds appropriated for its use by the governing body or bodies, and such funds may be used to employ or contract with, on such terms and conditions as the board or other body shall determine, persons, municipal or other governmental entities or such other entities as the development board or alternative body deems necessary to accomplish the purposes for which the development board or alternative body has been created. If the district was created by court order, the ordinance creating the development board or alternative body may provide that the members appointed to the board or alternative body shall consist of a majority of the landowners who petitioned for the creation of the district, or their designees or nominees.

10. To negotiate and contract with any person or municipality with regard to the connections of any such system or systems with any other system or systems now in operation or hereafter established, and with regard to any other matter necessary and proper for the construction or operation and maintenance of any such system within the district.

11. To acquire by purchase, gift, devise, bequest, grant, or otherwise title to or any interests or rights of not less than five years' duration in real property that will provide a means for the preservation or provision of open-space land as provided for in the Open-Space Land Act (§ 10.1-1700 et seq.). Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision 3, the governing body shall not use the power of condemnation to acquire any interest in land for the purposes of this subdivision.

12. To contract with any state agency or state or local authority for services within the power of the agency or authority related to the financing, construction, or operation of the facilities and services to be provided within the district; however, nothing in this subdivision shall authorize a locality to obligate its general tax revenues, or to pledge its full faith and credit.

13. In the Town of Front Royal, to construct, maintain, and operate facilities, equipment, and programs as may be necessary or desirable to control, eradicate, and prevent the infestation of rats and removal of skunks and the conditions that harbor them.

14. In Accomack County, to construct, maintain, and operate in the Wallops Research Park, consistent with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, such infrastructure, services, or amenities as may be necessary or desirable to provide access for aerospace-related economic development to the NASA/Wallops Flight Facility runway and related facilities, and to create and terminate a Wallops Research Park Partnership body, which shall consist of one representative of the NASA/Wallops Research Flight Facility, one representative of the U.S. Navy Surface Combat Systems Center, one representative of the Marine Science Consortium, one representative of the Accomack County government, the Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, and one representative of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. The Partnership body shall have all of the powers enumerated in § 15.2-2403. Federal appointees to the Partnership body shall maintain their absolute duties of loyalty to the U.S. government.

15. To contract with a nongovernmental broadband service provider who will construct, maintain, and own communications facilities and equipment required to facilitate delivery of last-mile broadband services to unserved areas of the service district, provided that the locality documents that less than 10 percent of residential and commercial units within the project area are capable of receiving broadband service at the time the construction project is approved by the locality.

As used in this subdivision:

"Area unserved by broadband" means a designated area in which less than 10 percent of residential and commercial units are capable of receiving broadband service, provided that the Department of Housing and Community Development for its Virginia Telecommunication Initiative may by guidelines modify such percentage from time to time.

"Broadband" means Internet access at speeds greater than 10 Mbps download speed and one Mbps upload speed, provided that the Department of Housing and Community Development for its Virginia Telecommunication Initiative may by guidelines modify such speeds from time to time.

Code 1950, § 15-8.2; 1962, c. 581, § 15.1-18.2; 1981, c. 631, § 15.1-18.3; 1982, c. 96; 1984, c. 385; 1985, c. 150; 1987, cc. 61, 80, 82; 1988, c. 402; 1989, c. 3; 1990, cc. 44, 515; 1991, cc. 12, 29; 1992, cc. 232, 655; 1993, c. 744; 1994, c. 166; 1996, cc. 99, 430, 844; 1997, c. 587; 1999, c. 295; 2000, cc. 743, 853, 925; 2002, cc. 198, 202, 230, 356; 2003, c. 493; 2004, c. 810; 2006, cc. 10, 394; 2007, cc. 210, 229, 813, 835, 896; 2009, cc. 302, 408; 2010, c. 212; 2018, c. 643; 2019, c. 828.

§ 15.2-2403.1. Creation of urban transportation service districts.

A. The boundaries of any urban transportation service district created pursuant to this article shall be agreed upon by both the local governing body of an urban county and by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. The overall density of an urban transportation service district shall be one residential unit per gross acre or greater. In the event of a disagreement between the Board and the governing body of an urban county in regard to the boundaries of an urban transportation service district, the parties may request that the Commission on Local Government serve as a mediator. For purposes of this section, an "urban county" means any county with a population of greater than 90,000, according to the United States Census of 2000, that did not maintain its roads as of January 1, 2007.

B. Any urban county that has established an urban transportation service district in accordance with this section shall maintain the roads within such district. Any such county shall receive an amount equal to the per lane mile maintenance payments made to cities and certain towns pursuant to § 33.2-319 for the area within the district for purposes of road maintenance.

2007, c. 896.

§ 15.2-2403.2. Virginia Wallops Research Park Leadership Council established.

A. The Virginia Wallops Research Park Leadership Council (the Council) is established as a cooperative management and oversight body to superintend the development and operation of the Wallops Research Park, a service district created pursuant to § 15.2-2400, consisting uniquely and exclusively of adjacent lands being a portion of NASA/Wallops Flight Facility, the Marine Science Consortium, and lands of Accomack County, a political subdivision of the Commonwealth. The purpose of the Council shall be to advise the Governor, state economic development officials, state workforce development officials, and the Wallops Research Park landowners on appropriate development and operations strategies for the Park with emphasis on policy recommendations that will enhance the Park's global competitive advantage in both research and technology-based commercial endeavors.

B. Persons appointed to the Council shall be selected for their knowledge of, background in, or experience with basic and applied research, emerging technologies, workforce development needs of industries, commercialization of the results and outputs of research activities, and the development and financing of technology intensive enterprises.

C. The Council shall consist of six members, all of whom shall serve as ex officio members with voting privileges: the Director of the NASA/Wallops Flight Facility or his designee, who shall retain his absolute duty of loyalty to the federal government; the Director of the U.S. Navy Surface Combat Systems Center or his designee, who shall retain his absolute duty of loyalty to the federal government; the Director of the Marine Science Consortium or his designee, who shall retain his absolute duty of loyalty to the Consortium; the Accomack County Administrator or his designee, who shall retain his absolute duty of loyalty to Accomack County; the Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System or his designee; and the Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade, or his designee. All members shall be appointed to serve terms coincident with their terms of office.

D. The Council shall designate one member as its chair, and is authorized to adopt bylaws.

E. A majority of the members of the Council shall constitute a quorum. Council meetings shall be as specified in its bylaws or upon the call of the chair.

F. Members of the Council shall receive no compensation, but shall be entitled to be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.

G. The Council shall:

1. Undertake studies, gather and analyze information, and make recommendations in order to accomplish its purposes as set forth in subsection A;

2. Apply for, accept, and expend gifts, grants, or donations from public, quasi-public or private sources, and state funds that may be appropriated by the federal government, the General Assembly, or any state government to carry out its purpose;

3. Report annually its findings and recommendations regarding the development and operation of the Wallops Research Park. The Council may make interim reports as it deems advisable; and

4. Assist the Virginia Community College System and Eastern Shore Community College, the lead education and training entities for the Park, in developing the necessary infrastructure to meet the workforce and education needs of the Park to include the development of an Education and Training Center.

H. Funding necessary to support the Council's work, including but not limited to the reimbursement pursuant to subsection F, shall be provided by Accomack County from the rent revenues generated by the Wallops Research Park.

I. Accomack County shall provide staff support to the Council. All agencies of the Commonwealth shall assist the Council upon request.

2009, cc. 302, 408.

§ 15.2-2403.3. (For contingent expiration date, see Acts 2016, cc. 68 and 758, as amended by Acts 2017, c. 345) Stormwater service districts; allocation of revenues.

Any town located within a stormwater service district created pursuant to this chapter shall be entitled to any revenues collected within the town pursuant to subdivision 6 of § 15.2-2403, subject to the limitations set forth therein, so long as the town maintains its own MS4 permit issued pursuant to § 62.1-44.15:26 or maintains its own stormwater service district.

2012, c. 814; 2013, cc. 756, 793.

§ 15.2-2403.3. (For contingent effective date, see Acts 2016, cc. 68 and 758, as amended by Acts 2017, c. 345) Stormwater service districts; allocation of revenues.

Any town located within a stormwater service district created pursuant to this chapter shall be entitled to any revenues collected within the town pursuant to subdivision 6 of § 15.2-2403, subject to the limitations set forth therein, so long as the town maintains its own municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permit issued by the State Water Control Board or maintains its own stormwater service district.

2012, c. 814; 2013, cc. 756, 793; 2016, cc. 68, 758.

§ 15.2-2403.4. Community improvement districts.

A. Any locality may by ordinance, or any two or more localities may by concurrent ordinances, create community improvement districts within the locality or localities by the method prescribed in § 15.2-2400. Any ordinance to create such a district shall include the words "Community Improvement District" in the name of the district. After adoption of an ordinance or ordinances creating a community improvement district, the governing body or bodies shall have all powers with respect to the community improvement district that they possess with respect to service districts.

B. To the extent the governing body of a locality contracts for the provision to a community improvement district of any of the governmental services authorized by subdivisions 1 and 2 of § 15.2-2403, such governing body shall contract with a nonprofit corporation, a majority of whose board members own property in the community improvement district, to provide such service.

2014, c. 736.

Article 2. Taxes or Assessments for Local Improvements.

§ 15.2-2404. Authority to impose taxes or assessments for local improvements; purposes.

A. A locality may impose taxes or assessments upon the owners of abutting property for constructing, improving, replacing or enlarging the sidewalks upon existing streets, for improving and paving existing alleys, and for the construction or the use of sanitary or storm water management facilities, retaining walls, curbs and gutters. Such taxes or assessments may include the legal, financial or other directly attributable costs incurred by the locality in creating a district, if a district is created, and financing the payment of the improvements. The taxes or assessments shall not be in excess of the peculiar benefits resulting from the improvements to such abutting property owners. No tax or assessment for retaining walls shall be imposed upon any property owner who does not agree to such tax or assessment.

B. In addition to the foregoing, a locality may impose taxes or assessments upon the owners of abutting property for the construction, replacement or enlargement of waterlines; for the installation of street lights; for the construction or installation of canopies or other weather protective devices; for the installation of lighting in connection with the foregoing; and for permanent amenities, including, but not limited to, benches or waste receptacles. With regard to installation of street lights, a locality may provide by ordinance that upon a petition of at least 60 percent of the property owners within a subdivision, or such higher percent as provided in the ordinance, the locality may impose taxes or assessments upon all owners within the subdivision who benefit from such improvements. The taxes or assessments shall not be in excess of the peculiar benefits resulting from the improvements to such property owners.

C. In the Cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Hopewell, Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, and Virginia Beach, the governing body may impose taxes or assessments upon the abutting property owners for the initial improving and paving of an existing street provided not less than 50 percent of such abutting property owners who own not less than 50 percent of the property abutting such street request the improvement or paving. The taxes or assessments permitted by this paragraph shall not be in excess of the peculiar benefits resulting from the improvements to such abutting property owners and in no event shall such amount exceed the sum of $10 per front foot of property abutting such street or the sum of $1,000 for any one subdivided lot or parcel abutting such street, whichever is the lesser.

D. The governing bodies of the Cities of Buena Vista, Hampton, and Waynesboro and the County of Augusta may, by duly adopted ordinance, impose taxes or assessments upon abutting property owners subjected to frequent flooding for special benefits conferred upon that property by the installation or construction of flood control barriers, equipment or other improvements for the prevention of flooding in such area and shall provide for the payment of all or any part of the above projects out of the proceeds of such taxes or assessments, provided that such taxes or assessments shall not be in excess of the peculiar benefits resulting from the improvements to such abutting property owners.

E. In the Cities of Hampton, Poquoson and Williamsburg, the governing body may impose taxes or assessments upon the owners of abutting property for the underground relocation of distribution lines for electricity, telephone, cable television and similar utilities. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 15.2-2405, such underground relocation of distribution lines may only be ordered by the governing body and the cost thereof apportioned in pursuance of an agreement between the governing body and the abutting landowners. Notice shall be given to the abutting landowners, notifying them when and where they may appear before the governing body, or some committee thereof, or the administrative board or other similar board of the locality to whom the matter may be referred, to be heard in favor of or against such improvements.

F. The governing body of any locality may request an electric utility that proposes to construct an overhead electric transmission line of 150 kilovolts or more, any portion of which would be located in such locality, to enter into an agreement with the locality that provides (i) the locality will impose a tax or assessment on electric utility customers in a special rate district in an amount sufficient to cover the utility's additional costs of constructing that portion of the proposed line to be located in such locality, or any smaller portion thereof as the utility and the locality may agree, as an underground rather than an overhead line; (ii) the tax or assessment will be shown as a separate item on such customers' electric bills and will be collected by the utility on behalf of the locality; (iii) the utility will construct, operate, and maintain the agreed portion of the line underground; (iv) the locality will pay to the utility its full additional costs of constructing that portion of the line underground rather than overhead; and (v) such other terms and conditions as the parties may agree. This provision shall not apply, however, to lines in operation as of March 1, 2005.

If the locality and the utility enter into such an agreement, the locality shall by ordinance (a) set the boundaries of the special rate district within a reasonable distance of the route of that portion of the line to be placed underground pursuant to the agreement, and (b) fix the amount of such tax or assessment, which shall be based on the assessed value of real property within such district. Thereafter, owners of real property comprising not less than 60 percent of the assessed value of real property within such district may petition the locality to impose such tax or assessment. If such petition is filed, the locality shall submit the agreement to the State Corporation Commission on or before the date by which respondents must prefile testimony and exhibits in any application for approval of the line before the State Corporation Commission, which, after notice and opportunity for hearing, shall approve the agreement if it finds it to be in the public interest. If there exists a practicably feasible overhead alternative for construction of the electric transmission line, the State Corporation Commission shall not approve the agreement unless the governing body of every locality in which the underground segment of the line would be located requests the electric utility to construct the line underground in accordance with this subdivision. If the agreement is approved by the State Corporation Commission, the locality shall impose such tax or assessment on electric utility customers within the district, and the locality and the utility shall carry out the agreement according to its terms and conditions.

G. In the County of Loudoun, the governing body may impose taxes or assessments upon the abutting property owners of Crooked Bridge Lane, located in the Blue Ridge District, for the improvement of the bridge located on Crooked Bridge Lane, including construction, repair and maintenance, provided not less than 50 percent of such abutting property owners who own not less than 50 percent of the property abutting such street request the improvement. The taxes or assessments permitted by this paragraph shall not be in excess of the peculiar benefits resulting from the improvements to such abutting property owners.

Code 1950, § 15-669; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-239; 1966, c. 127; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 126; 1972, cc. 704, 767; 1976, cc. 512, 617; 1977, c. 225; 1981, c. 581; 1985, c. 59; 1989, cc. 24, 564; 1991, c. 422; 1997, c. 587; 1998, cc. 324, 864; 1999, c. 386; 2005, c. 854; 2007, cc. 260, 813; 2008, c. 355; 2008, Sp. Sess. II, c. 8; 2009, c. 335; 2010, c. 392; 2012, cc. 186, 404.

§ 15.2-2405. How imposed.

Such improvements may be ordered by the governing body and the cost thereof apportioned in pursuance of an agreement between the governing body and the abutting landowners, and, in the absence of such an agreement, the cost of improvements which is to be defrayed in whole or in part by such local tax or assessment, may in cities and towns be ordered on a petition from not less than three-fourths of the landowners to be affected thereby, or in counties on a petition from not less than sixty percent of the landowners to be affected thereby or by a two-thirds vote of all the members elected to the governing body. Notice shall be given to the abutting landowners, notifying them when and where they may appear before the governing body, or some committee thereof, or the administrative board or other similar board of the locality to whom the matter may be referred, to be heard in favor of or against such improvements.

Code 1950, § 15-670; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-240; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2406. How cost assessed or apportioned.

The cost of such improvement, when the same shall have been ascertained, shall be assessed or apportioned by the governing body, or by some committee thereof, or by any officer or board authorized by the governing body to make such assessment or apportionment, between the locality and the abutting property owners when less than the whole is assessed, provided that in cities and towns, except when it is otherwise agreed, that portion assessed against the abutting property owner or owners shall not exceed one-half of the total cost; but in cities and towns having a population not exceeding 12,000, the amount assessed shall not exceed three-fourths of the total cost of such improvement, and in the City of Chesapeake and the City of Virginia Beach, the amount assessed shall not exceed the total cost. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, any portion of the cost of such improvements not funded by such special assessment may be paid from federal or state funds received by the locality for such purpose.

Code 1950, § 15-671; 1956, c. 27; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-241; 1972, c. 767; 1974, c. 623; 1978, c. 594; 1997, c. 587; 2005, c. 515; 2007, c. 813.

§ 15.2-2407. Assessments to be reported to collector of taxes; postponement of payment by certain property owners.

The amount assessed against each landowner, or for which he is liable by agreement, shall be reported as soon as practicable to the collector of taxes, who shall enter the same as provided for other taxes.

The governing body may provide for the postponement of the payment of such assessment by certain elderly or permanently and totally disabled property owners meeting certain conditions until the sale of the property or the death of the last eligible owner. Eligibility for postponement shall be subject to the conditions set forth in § 58.1-3211 as in effect on December 31, 2010, for such elderly or permanently and totally disabled persons. The governing body may provide for the postponement of the payment of such assessment until the property owner actually connects to the public utility system. However, if the property is conveyed between the time the assessment is made and the time the property owner actually connects to the public utility system, then the entire amount due under the assessment becomes due and payable on the day of the conveyance. In any event, the entire amount of assessment due shall be paid no later than ten years from the creation of the district.

The collector of taxes shall enter those assessments postponed by the governing body in accordance with the conditions prescribed as provided for other taxes, but the eligible property owner shall have the option of payment or postponement.

Code 1950, § 15-672; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-242; 1973, c. 211; 1978, c. 711; 1980, c. 726; 1996, c. 222; 1997, c. 587; 2011, cc. 438, 496.

§ 15.2-2408. Notice to landowner of amount of assessment.

When the assessment or apportionment is not fixed by agreement, notice thereof, and of the amount so assessed or apportioned, shall be given to each of the abutting owners who shall be cited to appear before governing body, committee, officer or board having charge of the matter, not less than ten days thereafter, at the time and place designated, to show cause, if he can, against such assessment or apportionment.

Code 1950, § 15-673; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-243; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2409. How notice given; objections.

The notice may be given by personal service on all persons entitled to such notice, except (i) notice to an infant, a mentally incapacitated person or other person under a disability may be served on his guardian, conservator or committee; (ii) notice to a nonresident may be mailed to him at his place of residence or served on any agent of his having charge of the property or on the tenant of the property; or (iii) in any case when the owner is a nonresident or when the owner's residence is not known, such notice may be given by publication in a newspaper having general circulation in the locality once a week for four successive weeks. In lieu of such personal service on the parties or their agents and of such publication, the notice to all parties may be given by publishing the same in a newspaper having general circulation in the locality, once a week for two successive weeks; the second publication shall be made at least seven days before the parties are cited to appear. Any landowner wishing to make objections to an assessment or apportionment may appear in person or by counsel and state such objections.

Code 1950, § 15-674; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-244; 1984, c. 331; 1997, cc. 587, 801.

§ 15.2-2410. Appeal to court; duty of clerk of governing body, etc.

If a property owner's objections are overruled, he shall, within thirty days thereafter, but not afterwards, have an appeal as of right to the circuit court for the locality. When an appeal is taken, the clerk of the governing body, committee or board, or the officer having charge of the matter, shall immediately deliver to the clerk of such court the original notice relating to the assessment, with the judgment of the governing body, committee, officer or board endorsed thereon, and the clerk of the court shall docket the same.

Code 1950, § 15-675; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-245; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2411. How such appeal tried; lien of judgment; when to take effect; how enforced.

Such appeal shall be tried by the court in a summary way, without pleadings in writing and without a jury, after ten days' notice to the adverse party, and the hearing shall be de novo. The amount finally assessed against or apportioned to each landowner, or fixed by agreement with him, as hereinbefore provided, shall be a lien enforceable in equity on his abutting land, from the time when the work of improvement has been completed, subject to his right of appeal and objections as aforesaid. Such lien shall be enforceable against any person deemed to have had notice of the proposed assessment under § 15.2-2412, but if no abstract of the resolution or ordinance authorizing the improvement is docketed as provided in § 15.2-2412, such lien shall be void as to all purchasers for valuable consideration without notice and lien creditors until and except from the time it is duly admitted to record in the county or city wherein the land is situated.

Code 1950, § 15-676; 1952, c. 332; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-246; 1964, c. 521; 1978, c. 15; 1989, c. 171; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2412. Docketing of abstracts of resolutions or ordinances.

When any improvement is authorized for which assessments may be made against the abutting landowners, the governing body may, before the amount to be finally assessed against or apportioned to each landowner or fixed by agreement is determined, cause to be recorded in the deed book of the circuit court clerk's office for such locality, an abstract of the resolution or ordinance authorizing such improvement showing the ownership and location of the property to be affected by the proposed improvement and the estimated amount that will be assessed against or apportioned to each landowner or fixed by agreement with him and the same shall be indexed in the name of the owner of the property. Such assessment shall be a lien solely on the abutting land as provided in § 15.2-2411.

After the completion of the improvement, the estimated amount shall be amended to show the amount finally assessed against or apportioned to each landowner or fixed by agreement with him, which final amount shall in no event exceed the estimated amount for the improvements as initially authorized. The amount finally assessed against or apportioned to each landowner may be greater than the initially assessed amount when the increased amount is for additional work being performed when the work was requested by the landowner and the additional work and its estimated amount is written into a separate agreement between the locality and the affected landowner. From the time of the docketing of such abstract, any purchaser of, or creditor acquiring a lien on, any of the property described therein shall be deemed to have had notice of the proposed assessment.

Code 1950, § 15-677; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-247; 1964, c. 521; 1985, c. 169; 1996, c. 222; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2413. Installment payment of assessments.

The locality making assessments under the provisions of this article may provide that the persons against whom the assessments have been made may pay such assessments in equal installments over a period not exceeding 20 years, together with interest on the unpaid balances at an annual interest rate not to exceed the rate of the index of average yield on United States Treasury securities adjusted to a constant maturity of one year as made available by the Federal Reserve Bank at the time the assessment ordinance was adopted. Such installments shall become due at the same time that real estate taxes become due and payable in the locality in which the assessment was made, and the amount of each installment, including principal and interest, shall be shown on a bill mailed, not later than 14 days prior to the installment due date, to each such person by the treasurer.

In cities, the council, in its discretion, may cause the payment of the amount assessed or apportioned against each landowner, or fixed by agreement with him, for improving sidewalks upon streets or for improving and paving alleys to be made in such manner divided into such installments as shall be determined by the council, bearing interest at such rate as shall be fixed by the council.

If an assessment is made under the provisions of this article for the installation of street lights, the locality making the assessment may provide by ordinance that the actual costs of installing, maintaining and operating such street lights be charged to and collected from each landowner as a separate component of the locality's billing system for any public utility.

1964, c. 304, § 15.1-249.1; 1978, c. 15; 1983, c. 179; 1987, c. 201; 1989, c. 171; 1997, cc. 587, 601; 1999, c. 386; 2003, c. 198.

Article 3. Tourism Improvement Districts.

§ 15.2-2413.1. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Activities" means any programs or services provided for the purpose of conferring specific benefits upon the businesses that are located in the tourism improvement district and to which a fee is charged.

"Administering nonprofit" means a private nonprofit entity that is under contract with a locality to administer or implement activities specified in the tourism improvement district plan. An "administering nonprofit" may be an existing nonprofit entity or a newly formed nonprofit entity. An "administering nonprofit" shall be a private entity and shall not be considered a public entity for any purpose, nor may its board members or staff be considered public officials for any purpose.

"Benefited business" means a business located within a tourism improvement district that is determined to be benefited, directly or indirectly, by tourism improvement district activities provided by such tourism improvement district. "Benefited business" includes one or more types of businesses, one or more segments of businesses, or businesses within one or more industries, as set forth in a tourism improvement district plan.

"Benefit zone" means an apportioned area designated within a tourism improvement district in which businesses pay a fee based upon the degree of benefit derived from activities to be provided.

"Business" means a business of any kind located in a tourism improvement district.

"Business fee" means any fee charged to a benefited business pursuant to this article.

"Business owner" means any person recognized by a locality as the owner of a business subject to a business fee. A business may appoint an authorized agent to act as its representative for the purposes of this article. Such agent shall be considered the business owner for the purposes of any signature required under this article or for any other purpose authorized by the business owner. A locality shall have no obligation to obtain other information as to the ownership of businesses, and its determination of ownership shall be final and conclusive for the purposes of this article.

"Capital improvement" means an improvement to tangible personal property with an estimated useful life of five years or more.

"Fee" means a fee charged by a locality in accordance with a tourism improvement district plan.

"Lead locality" means the locality in which the tourism improvement district plan is filed for the establishment of a tourism improvement district where such district includes more than one locality.

"Locality" means any county, city, or town in the Commonwealth.

"Majority share of benefited businesses" means one or more benefited businesses within a tourism improvement district or proposed tourism improvement district that cumulatively comprise a majority, based on the weighting methodology set forth in the tourism improvement district plan.

"Tourism business" means any type of business in the tourism sector. "Tourism business" includes a tourist home, hotel, motel, trailer court, recreational vehicle park, privately owned or privately managed campground, lodging intended for short-term occupancy, restaurant, tourism attraction, and tourism activity provider.

"Tourism improvement district" means a district established by a locality under the provisions of this article.

"Tourism improvement district plan" means a proposal for a tourism improvement district under the provisions of this article.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 500.

§ 15.2-2413.2. Filing of tourism improvement district plan.

Any benefited business may file a tourism improvement district plan with the clerk of a locality. The tourism improvement district plan shall contain the following:

1. A map of the proposed tourism improvement district;

2. A description of the boundaries of the tourism improvement district proposed for establishment or extension in a manner sufficient to identify the businesses included;

3. The activities proposed and the projected cost thereof;

4. A description of how businesses included within the tourism improvement district will benefit;

5. The total estimated annual amount proposed to be expended for all costs relating to tourism improvement district operation and implementation of activities and the manner in which benefited businesses will be charged a fee;

6. The proposed source or sources of financing;

7. The proposed time for implementation and completion of the tourism improvement district plan;

8. The weighting methodology for calculating a majority share of benefited businesses for the tourism improvement district;

9. Any proposals for rules and regulations to be applicable to the tourism improvement district;

10. Identification of an entity, charged with promoting tourism in that locality or region, as the administering nonprofit; and

11. Any other item or matter that the locality requires to be included in the tourism improvement district plan.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 500.

§ 15.2-2413.3. Petition for a proposed tourism improvement district.

Upon the submission to the clerk of a locality of a written petition, signed by the business owners in the proposed tourism improvement district who will pay more than 50 percent of the fees proposed to be charged, a locality may initiate proceedings to form a tourism improvement district. The amount of the fees attributable to a business owned by the same business owner that is in excess of 40 percent of the amount of all fees proposed to be charged shall not be included in determining whether the petition is signed by business owners who will pay more than 50 percent of the total amount of fees proposed to be charged.

Any petition shall include a summary of the tourism improvement district plan. That summary shall include a map showing the boundaries of the tourism improvement district, information specifying where the complete tourism improvement district plan can be obtained, and information specifying that the complete tourism improvement district plan shall be furnished by the signatories of the petition upon request.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 500.

§ 15.2-2413.4. Hearing on a proposed tourism improvement district.

A. After the filing of the tourism improvement district plan pursuant to § 15.2-2413.2 and the submission of a petition pursuant to § 15.2-2413.3, a locality may adopt a resolution containing:

1. A copy of the tourism improvement district plan;

2. A statement that the tourism improvement district plan is on file in the clerk's office for public inspection;

3. The time and place the locality will meet and hold a public hearing to hear all persons interested in the subject of the tourism improvement district plan;

4. A statement that any business owner who is to be charged a fee under the tourism improvement district plan who objects to the plan must file an objection with the clerk within 30 days of the conclusion of the hearing on forms made available by the clerk; and

5. The place, if any, other than the clerk's office, where the tourism improvement district plan may be inspected in advance of the hearing if the locality determines that, in the public interest, any additional place of inspection is necessary or desirable.

B. Any objection shall be made orally or in writing by any interested person. Every written objection shall be filed with the clerk at or before the time fixed for the public hearing. The locality may waive any irregularity in the form or content of any written objection. A written objection may be withdrawn in writing at any time before the conclusion of the public hearing. Each written objection shall contain a description of the business in which the person filing the objection is interested, sufficient to identify the business, and, if a person filing is not shown on the official records of the locality as the owner of the business, the objection shall contain or be accompanied by written evidence that the person subscribing is the owner of the business or the authorized representative. A written objection that does not comply with this section shall not be counted in determining a majority objection. If written objections are received from the owners or authorized representatives of businesses in the proposed tourism improvement district that will pay 50 percent or more of the fees proposed to be charged and objections are not withdrawn so as to reduce the objections to less than 50 percent, no further proceedings to charge the proposed fee against such businesses, as contained in the tourism improvement district plan, shall be taken for a period of one year from the date of the finding by the locality of such majority objection.

C. The locality shall cause a copy of the resolution adopted under subsection A, or a summary thereof, to be published at least once in a newspaper in general circulation in the locality, the first publication to be not less than 10 days and not more than 30 days before the date set for the hearing. Not less than 10 days and not more than 30 days before the date set for the hearing, the locality shall mail a copy of the resolution or a summary thereof to each owner of a business that is proposed to be charged a fee within the proposed tourism improvement district at the address shown on the locality's most recent list of businesses. If the locality publishes or mails a summary of the resolution, such summary shall include the address of the clerk, a statement that copies of the resolution shall be made available free of charge to the public, the activities proposed, the total estimated annual amount proposed to be expended for activities, and a statement indicating the rights of owners to object pursuant to subsection B.

D. If a tourism improvement district includes multiple localities or portions thereof, the notice and hearing process set forth in this section shall be conducted by the lead locality. A lead locality may not form a tourism improvement district within the territorial jurisdiction of another locality without that locality granting by majority vote of the governing body consent to the lead locality.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 500.

§ 15.2-2413.5. Establishment or extension of the tourism improvement district.

A. Not earlier than 30 days after the conclusion of the last day of the public hearing held pursuant to § 15.2-2413.4, the governing body of the locality that conducted the hearing process shall determine:

1. Whether the notice of hearing for all hearings required to be held was published and mailed as required by law and is otherwise sufficient;

2. Whether all the businesses charged a fee within the boundaries of the proposed tourism improvement district or extension will benefit from the establishment or extension of the tourism improvement district; and

3. Whether the establishment or extension of the tourism improvement district is in the public interest.

B. If the locality determines the question of subdivision A 3 in the negative, or if the requisite number of owners file objections as provided in subsection B of § 15.2-2413.4, the locality shall not establish or extend the tourism improvement district, as applicable. Thereafter, no plan for the establishment or extension of a tourism improvement district to include any business proposed to be included in the disapproved tourism improvement district may be submitted until the expiration of at least one year from the date of disapproval.

C. If the locality shall find that notice was incorrectly or insufficiently given or that any business charged a fee within the boundaries of the proposed tourism improvement district or extension is not benefited thereby or that certain businesses benefited thereby had not been included therein, it shall call a further hearing at a definite place and time not less than 10 days and not more than 30 days after this determination. In the resolution calling such hearing, it shall specify the necessary changes, if any, to the boundaries of the proposed tourism improvement district or extension to be made in order that all of the benefited businesses are included in the general tourism improvement district, and only those businesses deemed benefited shall be subject to fees within such tourism improvement district. Notice of the further hearing shall be published and mailed in the manner provided in § 15.2-2413.4, except that, where boundaries are to be altered, this notice shall also specify the manner in which it is proposed to alter the boundaries of the proposed tourism improvement district or extension. The further hearing shall be conducted in the same manner as the original hearing.

D. If a locality determines in the affirmative all questions in subsection A, it may by ordinance establish a tourism improvement district and any ordinances provided for in § 15.2-2413.6.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 500.

§ 15.2-2413.6. Local ordinances related to tourism improvement districts.

A. Any locality establishing a tourism improvement district may enact ordinances on any of the following subjects that provide for:

1. Activities and other additional services required for tourism promotion or events or for enhancement of the tourism improvement district;

2. Activities in the tourism improvement district that will fund the promotion of tourism activities in the tourism improvement district, including acquiring, constructing, installing, or maintaining capital improvements;

3. Operating and maintaining any tourism improvement district activity;

4. The charging of fees on all benefited businesses within a tourism improvement district, which shall be charged on the basis of the estimated benefit to such businesses within the tourism improvement district;

5. The classifying of businesses for purposes of determining the benefit to the businesses of the activities provided pursuant to this article;

6. A process for the collection of revenues from fees from benefited businesses; and

7. Forming a tourism improvement district in cooperation with, and that includes, other localities.

B. After establishing a tourism improvement district, a locality shall not decrease the level of publicly funded tourism promotion services in a tourism improvement district existing prior to the creation of such tourism improvement district.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 500.

§ 15.2-2413.7. Amendment to the tourism improvement district plan.

A. At any time after the establishment or extension of a tourism improvement district pursuant to the provisions of this article, the tourism improvement district plan upon which the establishment or extension was based, may, upon the recommendation of the administering nonprofit, be amended by the locality after compliance with the procedures set forth in this section.

B. Amendments to the tourism improvement district plan that provide for changes to the boundaries of the tourism improvement district or any change in the method of determining fees upon which the business fee is based may be adopted by ordinance, provided that the locality shall, after a public hearing, determine that it is in the public interest to authorize the changes to the boundaries of the tourism improvement district or the changes to the method of determining fees. The locality shall give notice of the hearing by publication of a notice on the locality's website or in at least one newspaper having general circulation in the tourism improvement district specifying the time when and the place where the hearing will be held and stating any changes to the boundaries of the tourism improvement district, or any change in the method of determining fees upon which the business fee is based. The notice shall be published at least 10 days prior to the date specified for the hearing.

C. Amendments to the tourism improvement district plan that provide for the tourism improvement district to incur indebtedness in order to provide for additional activities, that provide for an increase only in the amount to be expended annually for activities, or that provide for an increase in the total maximum amount to be expended for activities in the tourism improvement district may be adopted by ordinance. Prior to the adoption of an ordinance making one or more of the amendments as described in this subsection, the governing body shall, after a public hearing, determine that it is in the public interest to authorize the tourism improvement district to incur indebtedness to provide for additional activities, to increase the amount to be expended annually, or to increase the total maximum amount to be expended for activities in the tourism improvement district, or any applicable combination of the foregoing. Notice of the hearing shall be published and mailed in the manner provided in § 15.2-2413.4.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 500.

§ 15.2-2413.8. Establishment of separate benefit zones within tourism improvement district; categories of businesses.

The locality may establish one or more separate benefit zones within the tourism improvement district based upon the degree of benefit derived from the activities to be provided within the benefit zone and may impose a different fee within each benefit zone. The locality may also define categories of businesses based upon the degree of benefit that each will derive from the activities to be provided within the tourism improvement district and may impose a different fee or rate of fee on each category of business, or on each category of business within each zone.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 500.

§ 15.2-2413.9. Expenses of the tourism improvement district.

A. A locality may appropriate funds to pay expenses associated with the tourism improvement district. A locality may appropriate funds to the administering nonprofit.

B. A locality may issue bonds and other obligations subject to the provisions of the Public Finance Act of 1991 (§ 15.2-2600 et seq.) for the purpose of funding the costs of the tourism improvement district plan. Principal and interest payments on such bonds may be paid from the proceeds of any fees imposed under this article.

C. No funds raised pursuant to this article shall be used by the locality for any purposes other than funding the expenses of the tourism improvement district.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 500.

§ 15.2-2413.10. Administering nonprofit.

A. Any locality establishing a tourism improvement district may contract with an administering nonprofit for the purpose of carrying out such activities as may be prescribed in the tourism improvement district plan.

B. The administering nonprofit may make recommendations to the locality with respect to any matter involving or relating to the tourism improvement district.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 500.

§ 15.2-2413.11. Dissolution.

A. Any tourism improvement district established or extended pursuant to the provisions of this article, where there is no indebtedness, outstanding and unpaid, incurred to accomplish any of the purposes of the tourism improvement district, may be dissolved by majority vote of the local governing body. The tourism improvement district may be dissolved if the locality determines there has been misappropriation of funds, malfeasance, or a violation of law in connection with the management of the tourism improvement district. In the event of dissolution of a tourism improvement district, any remaining revenues, after all outstanding debts are paid, derived from the charge of fees, or derived from the sale of assets acquired with the revenues, or from bond reserve or construction funds, shall be appropriated for the purposes of the tourism improvement district plan or shall be refunded to the businesses that are charged a fee by applying the same method and basis that was used to determine the tourism improvement district fees that were charged.

B. During the operation of the tourism improvement district, there shall be a 30-day period each year in which owners of benefited businesses may request dissolution of the tourism improvement district. The first such period shall begin one year after the date of establishment of the tourism improvement district and shall continue for 30 days. The next such 30-day period shall begin two years after the date of the establishment of the tourism improvement district. Each successive year of operation of the tourism improvement district shall have such a 30-day period. Upon the written petition of the owners or authorized representatives of businesses in the tourism improvement district who pay 50 percent or more of the fees charged, the locality may by majority vote of the local governing body dissolve the tourism improvement district.

C. The locality shall hold a hearing on any proposed dissolution.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 500.