Athey-Vogel Subcommittee 2009
CHAPTER LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS
Next meeting of Athey-Vogel will be on 12 January 2010.
December 4, 2009 meeting
A presentation was provided to the members of the Sub-Committee today by a panel of 3 experts assembled by APA Virginia with financial assistance from APA National.
As part of the Chapter’s on-going participation in the Joint Subcommittee Studying Development and Land Use Tools, SJR 70/HJR 178 (Athey-Vogel Subcommittee for short), we were asked to provide a draft of legislation that would substitute a more flexible outcome-based approach to the UDA provisions found in § 15.2-2223.1 of the Code of Virginia as opposed to the much more prescriptive approach in the current legislation and recent f draft revisions—and to do so within a two-week window
The Chapter response was drafted with the assistance of many members of the Chapter Legislative Committee and was eventually adopted by the Board with no dissent. It is the concepts contained that are important, not the specific phrasing at this point because should this eventually be the basis of a bill that goes forward from the Athey-Vogel Subcommittee to the General Assembly, many hands will be involved in the specific wording. Our main point has been that since no two localities in our Commonwealth are alike and the Virginia way has long been for land use decisions to be made locally, the better approach to UDAs (other than to NOT call them UDAs in our rural communities) is for the General Assembly to establish the aspirational goals and provide a clear legal framework enabling local implementation in the manner that works best for each specific locality given its unique and specific circumstances. Left un-addressed in the Chapter response is the entire question of if or how there should be some mechanism for a state-level review to ensure local compliance. We know from statements made at Subcommittee meetings that Del. Athey is very interested in this question and thus we believe that there will be considerable discussion of that issue as the Subcommittee moves forward. The Chapter’s Legislative Consultant, Eldon James, and I met with the lead staff from the Division of Legislative Services on 7 July 2009 and presented the Chapter’s draft to them. As we understand it, the DLS staff will put what we have developed into bill form and likely add some definitions before submitting it to the members of the two work groups working on UDA issues to review , comment and offer suggestions for re-drafting.
The Athey-Vogel Subcommittee is also looking into possibly expanding the use of impact fees in the Commonwealth. Chapter President Jeryl Phillips addressed the Subcommittee at its last meeting and extended the offer to help inform the process, albeit without taking a specific position. The Chapter’s commitment is to bring in three of the national experts in drafting impact fee legislation to discuss the pros and cons on impact fees and provide information about what approaches have worked better than other approaches. Two of the three have direct experience with Virginia’s rather unique cash proffer legislation and the proffer policies that are in place in some localities. Thus they can provide relevant responses to any questions regarding comparisons between cash proffers and impact fees and whether the two systems are compatible or mutually exclusive or somewhere in between. Jeryl and our immediate past President Denise Harris are leading that effort for the Chapter.
As always, your thoughts, comments, concerns and questions are welcomed. Thank you for your continuing support.