Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 32. Boundary Changes of Towns and Cities
12/4/2021

Article 3. Contraction of Corporate Limits.

§ 15.2-3236. Council may enact ordinance.

Whenever it is deemed desirable to contract the corporate limits of any city or town, the council thereof may enact an ordinance defining accurately the boundary of the territory proposed to be abandoned. The ordinance, or a descriptive summary of the ordinance, along with a reference of the place in the city or town where the ordinance may be examined, shall be published in at least ten issues of a daily paper having general circulation in the city or town, if there is such a paper, or in two successive issues of a weekly newspaper having general circulation in such city or town, if there is such a paper. If there is no daily newspaper having general circulation therein, the ordinance shall be conspicuously posted in at least ten public places in the territory for at least ten days before the application to the circuit court for the city or town as provided for in § 15.2-3237 in addition to the publication in the weekly newspaper. A copy of the ordinance shall be served by the city or town upon the chairman of the board of supervisors of the contiguous county or counties of which the territory may become a part.

Code 1950, § 15-153; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-1059; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3237. Application to be made to circuit court; appointment of special court; who may appear against.

Within thirty days of the enactment of an ordinance proposing to reduce the corporate limits of a city or town, the city or town shall apply to the circuit court for the city, or to the circuit court for the city or town, for an order confirming the ordinance. The circuit court with which the petition is filed shall notify the Supreme Court, which shall appoint a special court to hear the case as prescribed by Chapter 30 (§ 15.2-3000 et seq.) of this title. One or more residents or landowners of the territory proposed to be abandoned, or the governing body of the county or counties contiguous thereto, may appear and by petition set forth reasons why the corporate limits should not be reduced.

Code 1950, § 15-154; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-1060; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3238. What court may do.

If the special court is satisfied that: (i) such contraction of the corporate limits will not leave the bonded debt of the city or town in excess of ten percent of the assessed valuation of the real estate that will be left in the city or town after the proposed contraction, which debt shall be determined as is provided in Article VII, Section 10 of the Constitution of Virginia; (ii) less than three fourths of the landowners in that territory oppose the contraction; (iii) no substantial damage to persons owning real estate in the territory proposed to be abandoned, or to the county of which it will become a part, will be caused by the contraction; and (iv) the abandonment of such territory will be in the best interest of the city or town, the court shall render an order confirming the ordinance contracting the limits of the city or town and declaring the territory abandoned to be a part of the contiguous county designated in the order. Such contraction shall thereupon become final and be taken cognizance of by all public officers, and the territory abandoned shall become a part of the county so designated. Whenever such an order is rendered, a copy of the order shall be certified to the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 15-155; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-1061; 1970, c. 751; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 1; 1978, c. 642; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3239. Certification of real estate list.

Upon entry of the order under § 15.2-3238, the proper city officers shall certify to the clerk of the county a list of all real estate within the territory, with every entry in regard thereto, as it appears on the city land books. The list and entries so certified shall be entered upon the county land books.

Code 1950, § 15-156; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-1062; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3240. Transfer of registration records.

Upon entry of the court order under § 15.2-3238, the registration records of voters residing within the territory shall be transferred, and the appropriate notice given, in accordance with § 24.2-114.

Code 1950, § 15-157; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-1063; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3241. Petition for contraction of towns located in two or more counties; appointment of special court.

Whenever it is deemed desirable to contract the corporate limits of a town located partially in one county and partially in another, a majority of voters registered to vote at the preceding November general election residing in that part of the town which is proposed to be abandoned may petition the circuit court for the county in which that part of the town is located to amend the charter of the town so as to exclude from the corporate limits of the town that part of the town which is located in such county.

Such petition shall be signed by the petitioners. It shall accurately define the boundary of the territory proposed to be abandoned and shall pray that the charter of the town may be amended so as to exclude such territory from the corporate limits of the town. The circuit court with which the petition was filed shall notify the Supreme Court which shall appoint a special court to hear the case as prescribed by Chapter 30 (§ 15.2-3000 et seq.) of this title.

Code 1950, § 15-158; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-1064; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3242. Parties defendant and publication of such petition.

The county in which the part of the town proposed to be abandoned under § 15.2-3241 is located shall be named as defendant to the petition. Satisfactory proof that the petition, or a descriptive summary of the petition along with a reference to the place in the town where the petition may be examined, has been published in a newspaper having general circulation in the county or town once a week for four successive weeks and has been posted at the front door of the courthouse of the county for a like period shall be filed with the petition. A statement in the publication to the effect that a certain number of registered voters of the territory proposed to be abandoned signed the petition shall be sufficient in lieu of the names of the signers.

Code 1950, § 15-159; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-1065; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3243. Hearing and order upon such petition.

The special court shall fix a day on which the petition filed pursuant to § 15.2-3241 shall be heard and shall direct the clerk of the court to cause to be summoned the chairman of the board of supervisors of the county and the mayor of the town, who without formal pleadings shall make such defense against the prayer of the petition as they may have. One or more residents or landowners of the territory proposed to be abandoned may appear and set forth reasons why the same should not be done.

If the court is satisfied that it will be in the best interest of a majority of the people of the territory proposed to be abandoned and that the general good of the community will not be materially affected, it shall by an order entered in its common-law order book, reciting the fact of the due publication of the petition, that it is in the best interest of a majority of the people of that part of the town proposed to be abandoned, and that the general good of the community will not be materially affected by amendment of the charter, order that the charter of such town be amended accordingly. Whenever such an order is entered, a copy of the order shall be certified to the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

The court in its order may make such disposition of the corporate property of the town as may seem to it just and equitable and shall also make such provision as to the payment of any debts or obligations of the town as between the county and the inhabitants of the town as to the court may seem just and equitable.

At the next session of the General Assembly following the final determination of such order, the town shall request that the General Assembly amend its charter in accordance with the court order. The effective date of the transfer of territory shall be the effective date of the court order and not the effective date of the Act of Assembly.

Code 1950, § 15-160; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-1066; 1970, c. 751; 1978, c. 642; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3244. (Effective until January 1, 2022) Appeal from such order.

Any one or more of the petitioners, or the defendants, or any inhabitants of the town, who may feel themselves aggrieved by an order declaring territory to be abandoned as provided by this article, or by the refusal to enter such order, may, at any time within sixty days from the date of the order, upon giving bond for costs, the amount thereof to be fixed by the court, apply to the Supreme Court for a writ of error and supersedeas according to the general law.

Code 1950, § 15-161; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-1067; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3244. (Effective January 1, 2022) Appeal from such order.

Any one or more of the petitioners, or the defendants, or any inhabitants of the town, who may feel themselves aggrieved by an order declaring territory to be abandoned as provided by this article, or by the refusal to enter such order, may, at any time within 60 days from the date of the order, upon giving bond for costs, the amount thereof to be fixed by the court, appeal to the Court of Appeals according to the general law. Any one or more of the petitioners, or the defendants, or any inhabitants of the town, who may feel themselves aggrieved by any decision of the Court of Appeals rendered pursuant to this section, may, at any time within 30 days from the date of the order, upon giving bond for costs, the amount thereof to be fixed by the court, apply to the Supreme Court for a writ of error and supersedeas according to the general law.

Code 1950, § 15-161; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-1067; 1997, c. 587; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 489.

§ 15.2-3245. Validation of proceedings.

All proceedings prior to July 1, 1960, taken in contraction of the corporate limits of the City of Fairfax are hereby validated, ratified, approved, and confirmed, and all such contractions or attempted contractions of the corporate limits of such city are hereby declared to have been validly created and established, notwithstanding any defects or irregularities in the creation thereof.

1960, c. 420, § 15.1-1067.1; 1997, c. 587.