Sunday, Jan 20, 2013

2013 General Assembly Update and Its Possible Consequences

Virginia Capitol Building

The Virginia General Assembly convened January 9, 2013 and is scheduled to adjourn on February 23, 2013. Much of the 45-day “short session” has already been devoted to the discussion of federal budget impacts, uranium mining, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and Governor McDonnell’s 2013 transportation package. “Crossover,” the last day for each house to consider its own legislation (excepting budget matters) and to forward all approved bills to the other chamber, is scheduled for February 5, 2013.

Walsh Colucci’s Legislative Committee has been monitoring several bills related to the real estate industry and a comprehensive legislative list may be downloaded here. Walsh Colucci will provide periodic updates on the status of these bills and will compile a final list of pertinent legislation following adjournment.

A comprehensive list of descriptions and resolutions of all bills filed during the 2013 General Assembly session may be found on the General Assembly’s Legislative Information Service homepage.

Some legislative initiatives of note include the following:

Attorney Fees In Zoning Actions (HB1429 (Morris)): This bill provides that a court may award reasonable attorney fees, expenses, and court costs to any person, group, or entity that prevails in a zoning action brought against it or that successfully challenges the validity of a zoning ordinance.

Dulles Toll Road Rates (HB 1696 (Minchew)): This bill authorizes VDOT to enter into an agreement with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority whereby MWAA would reduce tolls on the Dulles Toll Road in exchange for the Commonwealth’s moral obligation backing of bonds, not exceeding an aggregate principal amount of $500 million.

Stormwater Management Ordinances (HB2190 (Cosgrove)): This bill would require localities that adopt more stringent stormwater management requirements than those necessary to ensure compliance with the minimum regulations of the Soil and Water Conservation Board to submit such requirements to the Board to confirm that statutory requirements have been met and that the locality’s determinations pursuant to the statute are reasonable.

Recorded Plats and Final Site Plans (HB2238 (Marshall)): This bill provides that a site plan shall be deemed final once it has been reviewed and approved by the locality if the only requirement remaining to be satisfied in order to obtain a building permit is the submission of any other administrative documents, agreements, deposits, or fees required by the locality in order to obtain the permit.

Cash Proffers (HB2239: (Marshall)): This bill would provide that cash proffers shall not be used for any capital improvement to an existing facility that does not expand facility capacity or for any operating expense of an existing facility such as ordinary maintenance or repair.

Cash Proffers (HB2265 (Knight)): This bill would allow localities to waive certain written notice requirements in order to reduce, suspend, or eliminate outstanding cash proffer payments for residential construction calculated on a per dwelling-unit or per-home basis that have been agreed to, but unpaid, by any landowner.

Condominium Declarant Control Periods (HB2275 (Peace)): This bill would expand declarant control periods where a declarant has reserved the power to add more units to the condominium and provides that, at the request of the declarant and a two-thirds affirmative vote, the initial declarant control period for an expandable condominium may be extended at any time prior to its expiration, provided that it does not exceed 15 years from the settlement of the first unit to be sold in any portion of the condominium.

Governor’s Transportation Bill (HB2313 (Howell)): This bill would raise registration fees for vehicles and trailers, raises the license fees for electric vehicles, raises the state sales and use tax from 4 percent to 4.8 percent and designates the increased revenues for the Commonwealth Transportation Fund. The bill also proposes the elimination of the statewide gas tax and makes several technical changes related to the administration of these provisions.

For more information on the foregoing bills, please contact Andrew A. Painter.