Public Comments for 01/19/2023 Counties Cities and Towns - Subcommittee #2
HB1473 - Land use plans; zoning, notice.
Last Name: Taylor Locality: Virginia Beach

I urge legislators to oppose Delegate Fowler's HB1473 as a diminution in the current statutory notice requirements of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and an attempt to undermine constitutional due process with regard to citizens' property rights. If this legislation passes, the expense of legal challenges and unlawful takings will far exceed what each saved in word-count for publication. Quite frankly, it is ridiculous.

Last Name: peters Locality: Virginia Beach, VA

I am writing to support these bills to allow us to continue to do short term rentals in Virginia Beach. Thank you so much. Julie Peters 112 53rd St

Last Name: Patwardhan Locality: Fairfax County

I am curious about 1473. I don't disagree that the community input process can get silly and allow far too much platforming for the loudest NIMBYs. But I want to know the rationale for this bill and what it would look like once implemented, if implemented. I support 1482 and 1612.

Last Name: Cohen Locality: Henrico

This bill, like HB2161, puts obstacles in front of hard-working, tax paying Virginians to easily access what is being proposed in their communities in terms of development so that they can have a voice in what impact it will have on their lives and that of the community. If our legislature believes in transparency, then why support giving zoning the option of a tax map no. or an address of the property? Of course, it should be an address. Why remove the description from easy access? The information should be clear and readily accessible to everyone. And why would any representative want to remove the requirement of notices when there are proposed amendments concerning general usage, density and other data regarding to density as the proposal states, when these elements will directly effect everyone in the community from traffic, school capacity, safety, pollution, effect on environment, size of support services, etc., etc., etc. There is no monetary savings when those that will be impacted by development have less input into what is being considered in their own community due to removing or lessening full transparency. Zoning board members are not elected but their decisions can impact a community for years to come, sometimes transforming communities - whether good or bad - as a result of the decision of only a few appointed people who may only be receiving one perspective on upcoming projects, usually all in favor of the petitioner. Isn't it your obligation to serve the entire community and give everyone the best chance to participate in these serious decisions, with special consideration to those living in the community that can best contribute to the best decision for development in that community? Don't cut them out. Rather than putting up obstacles to transparency, how do we make it even easier for them to receive the information on the original proposal, all the subsequent proposed amendments and easy access to the zoning board even if they can't attend the meeting. Thank you for your consideration.

Last Name: Bland Locality: Hanover County

HB 1473 would seriously compromise transparency in government, the citizens' right to know, and the citizens' ability to engage as informed participants for their community's future. Please withdraw the bill. Thank you.

Last Name: Lascolette Locality: Goochland County

This is a terrible bill! Taxpayer dollars should be conserved everywhere possible, but the tiny advertising expense savings cannot begin to justify the loss of transparency that this bill promotes. This bill allows a zoning advertisement to skip the descriptive summary of the zoning action and then allow only a tax map number in lieu of a street address. How are citizens supposed to know what zoning is being requested? They can go to the locality to get details, but with no description and only a tax map number, how are they to know if they are even interested in pursuing? Do citizens have to go to the locality on every zoning case? Could the extra work by county staff outweigh the small advertisement dollars saved? Then - one of the most egregious provisions: this bill eliminates the requirement for an extra public hearing when land is zoned to a more intensive use. What could possibly be the purpose of this? This is one of the worst big-government bills I've seen in quite a while. There is no fixing this bill - it needs to be pulled by the patron or defeated.

Last Name: Leyen Organization: Virginia League of Conservation Voters Locality: Richmond

Virginia LCV encourages you to oppose HB 1473 (Fowler). While we conceptually support streamlining notice requirements, we are concerned that the elimination of a description of proposed action, and the elimination of an additional public hearing in cases of upzoning to a more intensive land use, will limit public engagement in regards to land use decisions that will affect their community. Reasons to OPPOSE HB1473: Virginians should have clear, easy-to-understand, notice regarding land-use decisions that affect their community. Descriptions of proposed actions facilitate that. Decisions by a locality to approve more intensive land use applications often have impacts beyond the property lines of the parcels that are developed. Effects include traffic and transportation changes, water and air quality, viewshed, and alteration of natural resources These potential changes should be accompanied by additional opportunities for community engagement for citizens to share how their lives stand to be impacted by decisions made by their local elected and appointed officials.

Last Name: Grigorian Locality: York

AMEND THIS BILL. More government control with less public input is definitely not what Republicans should be fighting for. PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE THIS PARAGRAPH IN 15.2 - 2285(C): In the case of a proposed amendment to the zoning map, the public notice shall state the general usage and density range of the proposed amendment and the general usage and density range, if any, set forth in the applicable part of the comprehensive plan. However, no land may be zoned to a more intensive use classification than was contained in the public notice without an additional public hearing after notice required by з 15.2-2204 Removing this paragraph allows the government to change the zoning of residential areas at will . A zoning change without public notice and comment removes the opportunity of a homeowner to defend their property and way of life. Please reinstate this restriction or vote no on this bill.

Last Name: Miller Organization: Piedmont Environmental Council Locality: Arlington

HB1473 DEl. My name is Christopher Miller, and I am President of the Piedmont Environmental Council. Del. Fowler bill seeks to streamline the notice requirements for plans, zoning, and other actions. PEC supports improving the notice process to assist citizens ability to participate and agrees that notices can be be simplified and reference materials available online from local government and in writing at easily accessible locations. But the bill proposes to eliminate existing requirements for notice and hearing for actions that would increase density beyond what has been previously noticed, striking the following: "In the case of a proposed amendment to the zoning map, the public notice shall state the general usage and density range of the proposed amendment and the general usage and density range, if any, set forth in the applicable part of the comprehensive plan. However, no land may be zoned to a more intensive use classification than was contained in the public notice without an additional public hearing after notice required by §15.2-2204." We oppose this part of the bill and would respectfully request that the patron eliminate this provision. Increases in density impose significant impacts on neighbors and communities and should require additional opportunity for comment.

HB1487 - Local government; live audio or video broadcast and archive of meetings.
Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

Since govts need to be watched, this is exactly what we need.

Last Name: Miller Organization: Piedmont Environmental Council Locality: Arlington

HB1473 DEl. My name is Christopher Miller, and I am President of the Piedmont Environmental Council. Del. Fowler bill seeks to streamline the notice requirements for plans, zoning, and other actions. PEC supports improving the notice process to assist citizens ability to participate and agrees that notices can be be simplified and reference materials available online from local government and in writing at easily accessible locations. But the bill proposes to eliminate existing requirements for notice and hearing for actions that would increase density beyond what has been previously noticed, striking the following: "In the case of a proposed amendment to the zoning map, the public notice shall state the general usage and density range of the proposed amendment and the general usage and density range, if any, set forth in the applicable part of the comprehensive plan. However, no land may be zoned to a more intensive use classification than was contained in the public notice without an additional public hearing after notice required by §15.2-2204." We oppose this part of the bill and would respectfully request that the patron eliminate this provision. Increases in density impose significant impacts on neighbors and communities and should require additional opportunity for comment.

Last Name: Mester Organization: City of Falls Church Locality: Fairfax County

The City of Falls Church is a firm supportive of transparent and accessible public meetings. The City has long live streamed via website and PEB Cable station the Council, Planning Commission and School Board meetings. These meetings are also archived. The City is however concerned with the language of this bill to mandate this requirement without providing state funding to cover the cost to execute this requirement for localities, the AV equipment and staffing can be a heavy burden. Additionally, we are concerned with the unclear definition of public meeting..... is this just intended for the business meetings or every open public meeting that is a gathering of elected officials such as ribbon cutting, community celebrations or dedications? This Council adopted legislative program (attached) includes positions retaining local authority, opposing unfunded mandates and supporting open-virtual- accessible meetings. Please feel free to contact me at cmester@fallschurchva.gov if you have any questions or required additional information. Thank you.

HB1540 - Solid waste disposal; adds Prince Edward County to list of counties that may levy a fee.
Last Name: peters Locality: Virginia Beach, VA

I am writing to support these bills to allow us to continue to do short term rentals in Virginia Beach. Thank you so much. Julie Peters 112 53rd St

HB1607 - Localities; penalties for violation of ordinances, civil penalties.
Last Name: Reynolds Organization: City of Suffolk Locality: Chesapeake

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee: on behalf of the City of Suffolk, we strongly support HB1607. The City included in its 2023 Legislative Priorities, the need for increased civil penalties for zoning violations to better handle repeat offenders. Increasing penalties for these violations will deter offenders who repeatedly receive citations, attend court/pay fines, and commit these violations again. Localities need a way to deal with these violations that do not rise to the level of a criminal misdemeanor, which is the only avenue available to us now under the Dillon Rule. We respectfully request that you will support this legislation. Thank you for your consideration!

Last Name: Bryan Organization: City of Virginia Beach Locality: Virginia Beach

Dear Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee: HB1607 would provide a very important tool for the City of Virginia Beach, as well as other localities. The subcommittee vote was split for reasons I do not understand, since there was no opposition to the bill and many localities that spoke in support. Localities need a way to deal with infractions that do not rise to the level of a criminal misdemeanor, which is the only avenue available to us now under the Dillon Rule. We respectfully request that you move this bill forward to give us the authority needed to pass an ordinance to impose a civil penalty for non-criminal, yet disruptive actions within our localities. Thank you for your consideration. Respectfully, Debra M Bryan Director of Legislative Affairs City of Virginia Beach

Last Name: Neil Organization: City of Portsmouth Locality: Portsmouth

The City of Portsmouth strongly supports the following bills: HB1612, (HB1482), HB1607. We also strongly oppose: HB1665 and HB1667 Thank you...

Last Name: McCarthy Organization: Piedmont Environmental Council Locality: WARRENTON

Dear Members of Subcommittee#2 of Counties, Cities and Towns: My name is John McCarthy, Senior Adviser of the Piedmont Environmental Council, based in Warrenton, Virginia. The Piedmont Environmental Council was formed in 1972 for the purpose of preserving and protecting the natural resources, rural economy, history, and beauty of the Virginia Piedmont and as a part of our engagement with our communities, we work in the field of land use planning throughout our nine member counties. In addition , I had the honor of being County Administrator of Rappahannock County for almost three decades, so my comments on this bill is predicated on both engagements. The burden on local governments of enforcing responsible land use controls would be expedited in the public interest by the adoption of this legislation. The civil summons process would both facilitate fast and efficient resolution to disputes and I would argue would accrue to the benefit of the alleged violator as well as the local government's interest in addressing violations. The substitution of the civil process in place of the arduous criminal process would be a benefit to the courts, as well. We urge you to support passage of this legislation

Last Name: Thompson Organization: Virginia Beach Resort Advisory Commission Locality: Virginia Beach

I serve as Vice-Chair of the Resort Advisory Commission in Virginia Beach. The commission’s role is to advise city council on decisions effecting our resort area. I chair one of the committees, the Oceanfront Enhancement Committee. One of the issues that came before my committee was the “retail sprawl” that occurs each summer in our resort from merchants using the sidewalk and public right-of-way to merchandise their wares. We have existing laws that prohibit this, but enforcement is ineffective. When a merchant is cited, there are several months of delays in getting it to court. Generally, the offender gets a slap on the wrist after the prime season is over. We believe the attached bill will remedy the problem by making it a civil offense where the offender can receive fines for each/every day they are in violation. A similar bill did not make it out of committee last year, but I don’t think it or the motivation behind it was fully understood. This is not the creation of a new law, only a more effective means of enforcement against violations. If passed, this will provide a very useful tool for municipalities throughout the Commonwealth who struggle to enforce existing public right-of-way laws.

HB1612 - Vacant building; registration.
Last Name: peters Locality: Virginia Beach, VA

I am writing to support these bills to allow us to continue to do short term rentals in Virginia Beach. Thank you so much. Julie Peters 112 53rd St

Last Name: Patwardhan Locality: Fairfax County

I am curious about 1473. I don't disagree that the community input process can get silly and allow far too much platforming for the loudest NIMBYs. But I want to know the rationale for this bill and what it would look like once implemented, if implemented. I support 1482 and 1612.

Last Name: Bateman Organization: Virginia First Cities Locality: Richmond

Virginia First Cities Coalition is supportive of the bills that give our local governments more tools to deal with blighted, derelict property. These two bills, as amended, will provide our cities a better tool to get these properties back into productive (and taxpaying) use.

Last Name: Neil Organization: City of Portsmouth Locality: Portsmouth

The City of Portsmouth strongly supports the following bills: HB1612, (HB1482), HB1607. We also strongly oppose: HB1665 and HB1667 Thank you...

HB1665 - Local land use approvals; extension of approvals to address the COVID-19 pandemic, sunset provision.
Last Name: Neil Organization: City of Portsmouth Locality: Portsmouth

The City of Portsmouth strongly supports the following bills: HB1612, (HB1482), HB1607. We also strongly oppose: HB1665 and HB1667 Thank you...

Last Name: McCarthy Organization: Piedmont Environmental Council Locality: WARRENTON

Dear Members of Subcommittee #2, Counties, Cities & Towns: My name is John McCarthy, Senior Adviser of the Piedmont Environmental Council, based in Warrenton, Virginia. The Piedmont Environmental Council was formed in 1972 for the purpose of preserving and protecting the natural resources, rural economy, history, and beauty of the Virginia Piedmont and as a part of our engagement with our communities, we work in the field of land use planning throughout our nine member counties. In addition , I had the honor of being County Administrator of Rappahannock County for almost three decades, so my comments on these bills, and a further extension of the existing grandfathering of previously approved land use decisions, is colored by both engagements. We feel that a further extension to 2025, from those granted to 2023, does not serve the interests of our communities, our citizens and our taxpayers, as the underlying conditions that pertained to those approvals have changed radically since the onset of the COVID pandemic. Just as the broader economy was ravaged by the pandemic, local government planning and land use decision-making has evolved through comprehensive plan amendments and updates in many of our communities, and the changed circumstances of the intervening years calls out for the due sunsetting of plans made in a very different economic landscape than that which pertains today. Please allow the current sunsetting of approvals to take place, so that communities can address their current needs based on current realities, not ones that have lapsed with time Thank you.

HB1667 - Local land use approvals; extension of approvals to address the COVID-19 pandemic, sunset provision.
Last Name: Neil Organization: City of Portsmouth Locality: Portsmouth

The City of Portsmouth strongly supports the following bills: HB1612, (HB1482), HB1607. We also strongly oppose: HB1665 and HB1667 Thank you...

Last Name: McCarthy Organization: Piedmont Environmental Council Locality: WARRENTON

Dear Members of Subcommittee #2, Counties, Cities & Towns: My name is John McCarthy, Senior Adviser of the Piedmont Environmental Council, based in Warrenton, Virginia. The Piedmont Environmental Council was formed in 1972 for the purpose of preserving and protecting the natural resources, rural economy, history, and beauty of the Virginia Piedmont and as a part of our engagement with our communities, we work in the field of land use planning throughout our nine member counties. In addition , I had the honor of being County Administrator of Rappahannock County for almost three decades, so my comments on these bills, and a further extension of the existing grandfathering of previously approved land use decisions, is colored by both engagements. We feel that a further extension to 2025, from those granted to 2023, does not serve the interests of our communities, our citizens and our taxpayers, as the underlying conditions that pertained to those approvals have changed radically since the onset of the COVID pandemic. Just as the broader economy was ravaged by the pandemic, local government planning and land use decision-making has evolved through comprehensive plan amendments and updates in many of our communities, and the changed circumstances of the intervening years calls out for the due sunsetting of plans made in a very different economic landscape than that which pertains today. Please allow the current sunsetting of approvals to take place, so that communities can address their current needs based on current realities, not ones that have lapsed with time Thank you.

HB1671 - Residential land development and construction; fee transparency, annual report.
No Comments Available
HB1674 - Comprehensive plan; freight corridors.
No Comments Available
HB1856 - Restrictive covenants; use of Loudoun County recreational property.
Last Name: peters Locality: Virginia Beach, VA

I am writing to support these bills to allow us to continue to do short term rentals in Virginia Beach. Thank you so much. Julie Peters 112 53rd St

Last Name: Miller Organization: Piedmont Environmental Council Locality: Arlington

HB1473 DEl. My name is Christopher Miller, and I am President of the Piedmont Environmental Council. Del. Fowler bill seeks to streamline the notice requirements for plans, zoning, and other actions. PEC supports improving the notice process to assist citizens ability to participate and agrees that notices can be be simplified and reference materials available online from local government and in writing at easily accessible locations. But the bill proposes to eliminate existing requirements for notice and hearing for actions that would increase density beyond what has been previously noticed, striking the following: "In the case of a proposed amendment to the zoning map, the public notice shall state the general usage and density range of the proposed amendment and the general usage and density range, if any, set forth in the applicable part of the comprehensive plan. However, no land may be zoned to a more intensive use classification than was contained in the public notice without an additional public hearing after notice required by §15.2-2204." We oppose this part of the bill and would respectfully request that the patron eliminate this provision. Increases in density impose significant impacts on neighbors and communities and should require additional opportunity for comment.

End of Comments