Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 9. General Powers of Local Governments

Article 3. Economic Development; Tourism; Historic Preservation.

§ 15.2-940. Expenditures for promoting resources and advantages of locality.

Any locality may, in its discretion, expend funds from the locally derived revenues of the locality for the purpose of promoting the resources and advantages of the locality. Such purpose shall include, without limiting the generality thereof, watershed projects and expenditures in connection therewith.

Code 1950, §§ 15-11 through 15-13; 1952, c. 117; 1956, c. 25; 1960, cc. 168, 176; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-10; 1994, c. 593; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-941. Participation by local government in certain loan programs.

Any locality or other political subdivision may participate in a program known as the "Virginia Shell Building Initiative." It is the intent of the General Assembly that this program, administered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, make available moneys to any locality or any other political subdivision for the express purpose of constructing industrial shell buildings, or renovating existing buildings, to be sold or leased at public or private sale to any person that will locate thereon any manufacturing, processing, technology-related or similar establishment.

Prior to filing an application with the Authority to participate in this program, the governing body shall hold a public hearing on the application and disposal of the proposed industrial shell buildings and related real estate. This public hearing process shall fulfill the public hearing requirements for the disposal of property set forth in § 15.2-1800.

1989, c. 285, § 15.1-18.4; 1996, cc. 590, 598; 1997, c. 587; 2001, c. 66.

§ 15.2-941.1. Creation of abandoned school revitalization zones.

A. Any locality may establish by ordinance one or more abandoned school revitalization zones for the purpose of providing incentives to private entities to purchase or develop real property or to assemble parcels suitable for economic development that include an abandoned school site. Each locality establishing an abandoned school revitalization zone may grant incentives and provide regulatory flexibility.

B. The incentives provided for in this section may include, but shall not be limited to, (i) reduction of permit fees, (ii) reduction of user fees, (iii) reduction of any type of gross receipts tax or any other type of local tax as permitted by state law, and (iv) waiver of tax liens to facilitate the sale of property, if deemed appropriate.

C. Incentives established pursuant to this section may extend for a period of up to 10 years from the date of initial establishment of the abandoned school revitalization zone; however, the extent and duration of any incentive shall conform to the requirements of applicable federal and state law.

D. The regulatory flexibility provided in an abandoned school revitalization zone may include (i) special zoning for the district; (ii) the use of a special permit process; (iii) exemption from certain specified ordinances, excluding ordinances or provisions of ordinances adopted pursuant to the requirements of the Erosion and Sediment Control Law (§ 62.1-44.15:51 et seq.) and the Virginia Stormwater Management Act (§ 62.1-44.15:24 et seq.); and (iv) any other incentives adopted by ordinance, which shall be binding upon the locality for a period of up to 10 years.

E. The governing body may establish a service district for the provision of additional public services pursuant to Chapter 24 (§ 15.2-2400 et seq.).

F. A school located in an abandoned school revitalization zone shall be eligible for participation in the Virginia Shell Building Initiative pursuant to § 15.2-941.

G. This section shall not authorize any local government powers that are not expressly granted herein.

H. Prior to adopting or amending any ordinance pursuant to this section, a locality shall provide for notice and public hearing in accordance with subsection A of § 15.2-2204.

2018, cc. 498, 499.

§ 15.2-942. Local government participation in certain events.

Any locality may provide for the re-creation and portrayal of important historical or cultural events associated with or which have taken place within the locality. Such locality may:

1. Enter into agreements with public or private nonprofit organizations to stage and promote such events;

2. Charge admission to such events, permit street vending, the sale of food, beverages, and merchandise related to and compatible with the objectives of the public celebration arranged for such events, or to delegate to such organizations the authority to do so;

3. Delegate to such organizations the collection of license fees from vendors;

4. Require a surety bond adequate to protect the public interest;

5. Restrict traffic on designated streets for the duration of the events; and

6. Make gifts by ordinance to such organizations from its treasury in furtherance of the re-creation and portrayal of such important historical or cultural events.

1984, c. 588, § 15.1-28.6; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-943. Operation and maintenance of living historical farm museums.

A. The General Assembly finds that there is a public interest in encouraging the development of living historical farm museums to preserve for posterity living examples of earlier farm operation and farm life in Virginia. Such living historical farm museums lead to respect for the past, the education of the young and also serve as tourist attractions in the Commonwealth.

B. A "living historical farm museum," for the purposes of this section, shall be a nonprofit corporation or association dedicating no less than five acres for the sole purpose of portraying by restoration, preservation or reconstruction of farm operation and farm life, including milling, of a selected period in the agricultural history of Virginia. The requirement that the museum shall be nonprofit shall not prevent the museum from charging admittance fees adequate to cover costs of operation and maintenance.

C. Any locality may provide, by appropriate ordinance, that whenever a person dedicates five or more acres to a nonprofit corporation or association dedicated solely for the purpose of organizing, operating, and maintaining a living historical farm museum, such person may be authorized to build and maintain such structures for the living historical farm museum as will be used in the operation, maintenance and support of such museum, subject, however, to any provisions of any zoning or planning ordinance of such locality.

1973, c. 332, § 15.1-18.1:1; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-943.1. Creation of arts and cultural districts.

A. Any locality, or combination of localities, may by ordinance, or in the case of multiple localities by substantially similar ordinances, establish within the boundaries of such localities one or more arts and cultural districts for the purpose of increasing awareness and support for the arts and culture in the locality. The locality may provide incentives for the support and creation of arts and cultural venues in each district. The locality may also grant tax incentives and provide certain regulatory flexibility in each arts and cultural district.

B. The tax incentives for each district may be provided for up to 10 years and may include, but not be limited to, (i) reduction of permit fees, (ii) reduction of user fees, (iii) reduction of any type of gross receipts tax, and (iv) rebate of real estate property taxes. The extent and duration of such incentive proposals shall conform to the requirements of the Constitutions of Virginia and of the United States.

C. Each locality may also provide for regulatory flexibility in each district that may include, but not be limited to, (i) special zoning for the district, (ii) permit process reform, (iii) exemption from ordinances, and (iv) any other incentive adopted by ordinance, which shall be binding upon the locality for a period of up to 10 years.

2018, c. 396.

§ 15.2-944. Authority to acquire and preserve places and things of historical interest.

Any locality may acquire, except by condemnation, sites, landmarks, structures and records of historical interest and value to the Commonwealth and may restore and preserve them, or may convey them to a nonstock corporation chartered under Virginia law for the purposes of acquiring and preserving such places and things. A locality may appropriate money to any such corporation.

Code 1950, § 15-7.3; 1962, c. 333, § 15.1-18.1; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-944.1. Notification prior to sale or transfer of ownership of certain historic properties.

A. Any charitable or civic organization or museum that (i) has been granted tax exempt status under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; (ii) owns real property that is designated as historic under a local zoning ordinance or meets the criteria for a historic area under § 15.2-2201; and (iii) is operating that property as a historic attraction open to the public for interpretation for more than 100 days per year, shall notify in writing the locality's chief administrative officer, the Department of Historic Resources, and the Office of Attorney General of its intent to sell or transfer ownership of such property.

B. Such notification shall be provided at least ninety days prior to the public offering for sale of such property, or if no public offering is made, at least ninety days prior to the acceptance of a purchase offer for such property.

C. The notification required pursuant to subsection A shall be waived where (i) only a portion of the property is sold or transferred and the portion that is not sold or transferred remains open to the public at least 100 days a year; (ii) the property is being transferred to another owner who has been granted tax exempt status under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and the property remains open to the public at least 100 days a year; or (iii) an easement, right-of-way, or leasehold interest in the property is being sold or transferred and the property remains open to the public at least 100 days a year.

D. Failure to provide the notification required by this section shall not be the basis for invalidation of any sale, but may subject the terms of the sale to special review by the locality or the Attorney General to ensure that such sale has not resulted in a violation of any public law or charitable trust obligation by the transferring organization or entity.

2001, c. 780.

§ 15.2-945. Acquisition and housing of relics, paintings, carvings, sculpture and other works of art.

The governing body of any locality may enter into agreements with appropriate authorities or agencies, acting under legislation enacted by the Congress of the United States, or with any person to provide and secure for such locality such relics and such paintings, carvings, sculpture and other works of art as may be specified in such agreements and may appropriate buildings to house them. For such purposes the governing body, notwithstanding any provision of Chapter 18 (§ 15.2-1800 et seq.) or this chapter to the contrary, may furnish such materials, services and supplies and appropriate and expend from the general funds of such locality such moneys as the governing body deems proper.

Code 1950, § 15-706; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-281; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-946. Regulation of tour guides and tourist guides.

Any locality may, before issuing any license to do business as a tour guide or tourist guide, require that an applicant for such license take and pass an examination to determine the fitness of such person as to his knowledge of the history of the locality and of the historical and tourist attractions located therein.

1984, c. 675, § 15.1-28.7; 1997, c. 587.