Augusta County; removal of county courthouse, authorization by electorate. (SB283)

Introduced By

Sen. Emmett Hanger (R-Mount Solon)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Removal of county courthouse; Augusta County; authorization by electorate. Allows Augusta County to hold a referendum on the courthouse removal in 2022, despite the 10-year waiting requirement, if (i) two new plans are developed for either the construction and removal of the courthouse from the City of Staunton, if the referendum passes, or renovation and expansion of the courthouse in the City of Staunton, if the referendum fails; (ii) the plans are made available to the public at least three months prior to the planned date of the referendum; (iii) the plan for the courthouse remaining in Staunton, if it prevails, shall be a mutual agreement between the City of Staunton and Augusta County; and (iv) the result of the referendum shall be binding and the corresponding plan shall be implemented. Read the Bill »


01/11/2022: Awaiting a Vote in the Privileges and Elections Committee


01/11/2022Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/22 22102090D
01/11/2022Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
01/21/2022Senate committee, floor amendments and substitutes offered


Ingrid writes:

To allow this bill to succeed would be to undermine the results of an Augusta County referendum and to generally reward bad behavior, mostly, though not exclusively, on the part of Augusta County.
First, it would allow Augusta County elected officials to ignore the clear will of their constituents, who in 2016 voted overwhelmingly (2-1) against moving the Augusta County courts out of Staunton.
Second, passing this bill messages to Augusta County elected officials that acting in bad faith is acceptable, as demonstrated by them repeatedly refusing, out of hand, any and all contributions made by the City of Staunton to help offset costs of maintaining Staunton as the County seat and keeping the courts here.
Third, the timing of the draft resolution for County and City consideration on supporting this bill was such that it came across to us City residents as an ultimatum, with no time for us to understand what was afoot. While not opining here on the merits of the underlying arrangement proposed (i.e. Courthouse moves to Verona in exchange for essentially giving the City of Staunton several buildings and a lot), the whole way in which the resolution was hastily brought up for a City Council vote was a travesty.

Randall Wolf writes:

I do not support this bill because it disrespects the 2-1 vote by Augusta citizens in 2016 to not move the courthouse to Verona. That vote was taken with the understanding of it lasting a minimum of ten years.

Lallon Pond writes:

I am writing to urgently request that you do not pass SB283 out of your committee and to continue to vote “no” after crossover until it is totally killed. I am a Staunton City resident, and I have heard from my neighbors as well as Augusta County residents that they are NOT in favor of this bill. In the referendum that was held in 2016, the vote was overwhelmingly (2-1) NOT in favor of moving the Augusta County courts out of Staunton. People think their votes in the referendum are being ignored.

Carolyn Dull writes:

This bill has been amended to remove any ability for the city of Staunton to participate in the planning process. It no longer states that it is binding, and changes the referendum question entirely. I certainly hope this bill will be killed in committee.

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