About

This blog focuses on real estate, land use and construction-related topics affecting Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metro area. With topics ranging from contract drafting and negotiation to local and regional land use project updates, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman provide timely insight and commentary on the issues affecting owners, builders, developers, contractors, subcontractors and other players in the industry. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

Contact us

Topics

Archives

Select Month:

Contributors

Posts tagged General Assembly.

Virginia General AssemblyVirginia's General Assembly has passed a bill that, among other things, raises the upper limit of cases that may be filed in the General District Court.  This increase will potentially make it easier to try certain matters more cost effectively moving forward.

HammerArlington County has been widely criticized for its aggressive lawsuit over the proposed Interstate 395 HOT lanes expansion, which includes allegations that individual state and federal officials committed civil rights violations in approving the project. In a time of significant economic troubles and governmental budget challenges, the county has reportedly paid over $1 million in legal fees advancing this case.

September 1, 2010
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Email Print

For those of you out there who are following whether commercial real estate can be taxed at a different rate than residential property, FFW Enterprises v. Fairfax County, et al. has been slated for the Supreme Court's September arguments docket.  Like most other states, in the Commonwealth of Virginia the Constitution contains a "Uniformity Clause" which was intended to prevent the General Assembly from allowing the taxation of different classifications of real property in an inequitable manner.  Specifically, Article X, Section 1 of the Constitution of Virginia provides:

"...All taxes shall be levied and collected under general laws and shall be uniform upon the same class of subjects within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax, except that the General Assembly may provide for differences in the rate of taxation to be imposed upon real estate by a city or town within all or parts of areas added to its territorial limits..."

This year's proposed Constitutional Amendments are now up for review prior to being voted on during the November 2, 2010 General Election this fall.  There are three proposed amendments on the table:

Back on April 14th I blogged about the creation and anticipated operation of the Virginia Defective Drywall Correction and Restoration Assistance Fund (the "DDCRAF") via two new provisions to the Code of Virginia patroned by Delegate Oder this session.  If you read that posting you'll recall that the purpose of the DDCRAF is to create a perpetual, non-reverting fund to facilitate the remediation of property impacted by the use of "Defective Drywall" in residential construction, and I promised to find out whether funding was lined up for the DDCRAF yet.  Delegate Oder's office has been very responsive and helpful in explaining how they envision funding to come through for the DDCRAF.

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"). 

If you are an owner or operator of affordable rental housing (property with four or more units), it might be worth noting that the General Assembly has just restricted your local real estate tax assessor's discretion to value your property to one method.   Senator Whipple, apparently at the request of the Virginia Housing Commission, patroned a bill passed by both houses this session to amend Section 58.1-3295, requiring localities to assess real property being operated as affordable rental housing solely via the income valuation approach.  Presumably, the reason for this was that local assessors have been trying to tax committed affordable rental housing (i.e. housing that is legally bound to remain and operate as affordable housing at limited rents), at rates that do not reflect these income stream restrictions, by using methods to determine fair market value other than the income approach.

In what appears to be an effort to allow localities to provide additional incentives to redevelop certain areas or sites, both houses of the General Assembly have voted to modify Section 15.2-2316.2 of the Code of Virginia, better known as the "TDR Statute" (inclusive of Section 15.2-2316.1 as well).  Previously, transferable development rights ("TDRs") severed from a "sending" site or area could only be equal to the TDRs permitted to be attached to the "receiving" site.  The modification now allows TDRs transferred to receiving sites to be greater than those severed from the sending sites. 

Can you imagine going to your local zoning office, asking for a formal determination from the Zoning Administrator as to whether you are permitted to build a building on your property, receiving a formal written determination that you may do so legally, providing the written opinion to your bank who then provides the financing, then paying for and constructing the building, only to be notified thereafter by the locality that they have either changed their mind or have decided to rezone your property without your consent in the interim?  You complain that you were told by the locality that you could build the building, but all you get is "Sorry, we've decided you can't do that after all."

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.