HB 1459 would let decisions made by local governments without properly following the law stand – both those made in the past as well as those made in the future. The bill language in particular deems that any local land use decision made in violation of existing statutory requirements cannot be made void or legally challenged after 30 days have passed. This would include decisions on rezonings, special permits and similar land use proposals, and the adoption of guiding documents like comprehensive plans or zoning ordinances.
This bill is effectively stripping the power to hold local governments accountable to the laws of the Commonwealth away from the people they serve. If passed, this bill will likely interfere with active litigation on several land use cases in our region, including recently challenged data center approvals in the Town of Warrenton, Orange County and Prince William County.
Creating a statute of limitations to challenge a local government decision stands to benefit only private interests of developers. By undermining the importance of public notice and procedural standards, HB 1459 gives local governments more leeway to make improper decisions without public accountability.
This article represents the view of the Piedmont Environmental Council and not necessarily those of Bristow Beat, LLC .
Piedmont Environmental Council,
local land use decisions,
Virginia House of Delegates,
special use permits,
Prince William County,
Coalition to Protect Prince William County,
Prince William Digital Gateway