Proposed changes to a proffer law could improve communication between local governments and project applicants.
Home Builders Association of Virginia’s (HBAV) Vice President of Government Relations Andrew Clark talked about Proffer legislation at a Policy Committee meeting in Manassas.
The Prince William Chamber of Commerce hosted the discussion at its headquarters on Wednesday.
During the 2016 Virginia General Assembly, the House and Senate passed legislation that prevents local governments from requesting or accepting an unreasonable proffer associated with rezoning.
An “unreasonable proffer” is an offer that doesn’t address the impact of a proposed residential development.
In addition, localities aren’t allowed to deny rezoning applications for developments when the applicant refuses or fails to submit an unreasonable proffer.
During the Policy Committee meeting, Clark went over a few revisions the association is recommending.
One proposed change is to replace “request or accept” in section B with “require.”
“Universally, localities I think had a problem with that ‘request or accept’ language, because of the chilling effect that it had on conversations … The perceived ‘gap rule’ I think, in part, was derived from those two words — ‘request or accept,’” Clark explained.
HBAV is also suggesting that officials add a section to the law.
The recommended addition encourages open communication.
“Localities and applicants, you can discuss, converse, propose, analyze a development’s impact on public facilities,” Clark said.
Another proposed section seeks to help those who are struggling to implement the legislation.
It offers a few choices localities and applicants may be able to take advantage of.
“[We’re] trying to give some flexibility for our members and for local governments to try to work within the framework of the law, as passed in 2016,” Clark said.
After presenting the recommended revisions, Clark answered questions from meeting attendees.
He asked if the revised legislation hurts HBAV members or local governments.
Chris Price, deputy county executive for Prince William County, said it did.
Clark said he would like to learn more about any issues. He added that localities and members have said the draft “moves the ball forward.”
“I would just say that Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William do not concur with that,” Price said.
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