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We've got two new provisions to the Code of Virginia as of this last legislative session which create a perpetual, non-reverting fund to facilitate the remediation of property impacted by the use of "Defective Drywall" in residential construction.  This fund will be administered by the Virginia Resources Authority and the Department of Housing and Community Development ("DHCD"). 

Football PuntAfter much back and forth, the Soil and Water Conservation Board announced on January 14th that they voted to suspend their hotly debated changes to stormwater regulations to permit an additional 30-day comment period.  The stage was formally suspended on January 26, 2010 which means that the status will be stuck in suspension until a new round of comments opens from February 15 through March 17.

We reported on the both the initial regulations and later changes to the proposed regulations which eased some of their impacts on the home building industry.  The Home Builders Association of Virginia indicates that they mobilized significant response and opposition to even the later round of regulations.

With well over two thousand bills filed for this session, I was curious to see what our local urban delegates and senators have chief-patroned this year.  So here's what they're up to:

Delegate Brink has patroned HB 1260, which proposes that the Uniform Statewide Building Code should also apply to buildings or structures built on state-owned property and that the Department of General Services would act as the building official for all such buildings.  He has also patroned HB 1314 which contemplates providing financial incentives equal to twenty percent of delinquent taxes collected by tax collectors, chargeable to the taxpayer in addition to the amount of the delinquent taxes.

Virginia Delegate Mark Cole is up to it again, proposing another amendment to the business, professional and occupational (“BPOL”) tax laws. Delegate Cole sits on the House of Delegates Finance Committee, and represents the 88th District, spanning Stafford, Spotsylvania and Fauquier Counties and the Town of Remington. As you may recall from my last blog post on proposed business tax reforms in the Commonwealth, he sponsored HB 57, which would freeze BPOL tax rates, and prohibit those localities that do not have a BPOL tax from imposing one.

USGBC Logo on GlassWading through the various layers of requirements, enticements, incentives and regulations that apply to green building can be overwhelming to anyone, let alone the uninitiated.  This process is made far more complicated by adding the layering of federal, state, and local government efforts in this field.

The United States Green Building Council has this effort very easy with regards to LEED related public policy searches.  USGBC has a search engine with multiple selectable criteria to sift through the oceans of regulations to find what you are looking for.  I cannot say the entire database is perfect, but I can say that it appeared that the Virginia state and local discussion was basically accurate, including the status of the green building ordinances in Arlington County, Fairfax County, and the City of Alexandria.

With the General Assembly set to convene and prefiling ending on January 13th, I thought it would be worth while to take a look at the legislative proposals submitted thus far to see if anything  jumped out at me this year from the land use side of things.  Suprisingly, this session looks kind of light so far (everyone must be focusing on the budget bills...).

From the local government side, it looks like HB 33 proposes requiring additional disclosures by local governments when seeking bond approvals from voters.  It appears the idea is that public notices would have to include not only the amount of debt to be assumed, but now also the anticipated number of years to amortize and the total debt service payable on the principal amount of the bonds proposed to be issued.  More information for voters - how can you vote against this one?

Scott McCaffrey of the Arlington Sun Gazette reported yesterday morning that the Arlington Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association has filed the necessary paperwork (click here to view the Certificate of Receipt and Acceptance Local Referendum and the Statement of Petitioner for Local Referendum) with the Circuit Court for Arlington County to begin the petition process for a ballet referendum to change the system of government in Arlington County from a County Manager form of government to a County Board form of government.  Apparently, the Arlington Coalition of Police is planning on backing the petition as well.