Peace Supports Measure to Remove Local Government Mandate

Urban Development Area component of Comprehensive Plan made optional

Central Virginia- As a co-patron of House Bill 869, Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-97th District), is delighted the measure passed the House by a vote of 74-24 and is now headed to a hearing in the Senate.

HB 869 is a measure that makes designation of urban development areas optional for all localities.  Currently urban development areas are mandatory for many higher growth localities.  However, the measure does not change the Comprehensive Plan review process.

“I supported this bill, as a co-patron, because I believe that governing is best when closest to the people.  This measure allows local government to plan for future development which is in the best interest of their community. Additionally, the protection of private property rights is vital to our citizens,” asserted Delegate Peace.

The Comprehensive Plan review process is a long established five-year cycle that governing bodies are mandated to follow.  It works well and is an affordable process – Comprehensive Plan reviews can be time consuming and costly in terms of staff time, Planning Commission and Governing Body public meetings and required public hearings; they typically take many months and can easily take years.  The issues can be controversial and require considerable research, study and effort to work through the differences of opinion.

In 2007, the General Assembly added Section 15.2-2223.1 to the Code of Virginia requiring high growth localities to designate Urban Development Areas in their comprehensive plans by July 1, 2011 (counties).  Designated Urban Development Areas (“UDA”) are to be areas of reasonably compact development that can accommodate 10 to 20 years of projected growth.