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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 24. Service Districts; Taxes and Assessments for Local Improvements
8/16/2022

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 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 Department of Environmental Quality or maintains its own stormwater service district.

2012, c. 814; 2013, cc. 756, 793; 2016, cc. 68, 758; 2022, c. 356.

§ 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.