Piedmont Environmental Council

PEC Urges Public to TAKE ACTION Against Va. Bill that Would Limit Challenges to Local Land-Use Decisions

Protects local land-use decisions made in violation of statutory requirements

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: This is a press release by the Piedmont Environmental Council and represents the organization's perspective on HB 1459. 
I’m writing to ask that you take immediate action on a critical issue in the General Assembly regarding the ability to seek recourse for improper land use decisions made by local governments.

House Bill 1459
 (Owen - R, 57th District) was passed in a House subcommittee this morning and will be voted on by the full Counties, Cities and Towns Committee this Friday at 9 a.m.We urgently need your help opposing it.

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.

Governments must be held accountable for their actions for our democracy to function. Please write and call legislators in the Counties, Cities and Towns Committee today and ask them to oppose HB 1459 when it comes to a vote tomorrow.


John McCarthy
Senior Advisor & Director of Strategic Partnerships

This article represents the view of the Piedmont Environmental Council and not necessarily those of Bristow Beat, LLC .

HB 1459, Piedmont Environmental Council, land use, landuse, local land use decisions, statutory requirements, legally challenged, vote, Owen, subcommittee, Virginia House of Delegates, rezoning, special use permits, comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances, data centers, Prince William County, Virginia, Coalition to Protect Prince William County, vote, Feb. 9, Warrenton, Orange County, Prince William Digital Gateway