SB286: Historic districts; required disclosure for buyer to beware, due diligence.


VIRGINIA ACTS OF ASSEMBLY -- CHAPTER
An Act to amend and reenact § 55.1-703 of the Code of Virginia, relating to required disclosure for buyer to beware; buyer due diligence; historic districts.
[S 286]
Approved

 

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That § 55.1-703 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 55.1-703. Required disclosures for buyer to beware; buyer to exercise necessary due diligence.

A. The owner of the residential real property shall furnish to a purchaser a residential property disclosure statement for the buyer to beware of certain matters that may affect the buyer's decision to purchase such real property. Such statement shall be provided by the Real Estate Board on its website.

B. The residential property disclosure statement provided by the Real Estate Board on its website shall include the following:

1. The owner makes no representations or warranties as to the condition of the real property or any improvements thereon, or with regard to any covenants and restrictions, or any conveyances of mineral rights, as may be recorded among the land records affecting the real property or any improvements thereon, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary, including obtaining a home inspection, as defined in § 54.1-500, a mold assessment conducted by a business that follows the guidelines provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and a residential building energy analysis, as defined in § 54.1-1144, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

2. The owner makes no representations with respect to any matters that may pertain to parcels adjacent to the subject parcel, including zoning classification or permitted uses of adjacent parcels, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary with respect to adjacent parcels in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

3. The owner makes no representations to any matters that pertain to whether the provisions of any historic district ordinance affect the property, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary with respect to any historic district designated by the locality pursuant to § 15.2-2306, including review of (i) any local ordinance creating such district, (ii) any official map adopted by the locality depicting historic districts, and (iii) a survey of the property, and (iv) any materials available from the locality that explain (a) any requirements to alter, reconstruct, renovate, restore, or demolish buildings or signs in the local historic district and (b) the necessity of any local review board or governing body approvals prior to doing any work on a property located in a local historic district, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

4. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property contains any resource protection areas established in an ordinance implementing the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (§ 62.1-44.15:67 et seq.) adopted by the locality where the property is located pursuant to § 62.1-44.15:74, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary to determine whether the provisions of any such ordinance affect the property, including review of any official map adopted by the locality depicting resource protection areas, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

5. The owner makes no representations with respect to information on any sexual offenders registered under Chapter 23 (§ 19.2-387 et seq.) of Title 19.2, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary with respect to such information, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

6. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is within a dam break inundation zone. Such disclosure statement shall advise purchasers to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary with respect to whether the property resides within a dam break inundation zone, including a review of any map adopted by the locality depicting dam break inundation zones;

7. The owner makes no representations with respect to the presence of any wastewater system, including the type or size of the wastewater system or associated maintenance responsibilities related to the wastewater system, located on the property, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary to determine the presence of any wastewater system on the property and the costs associated with maintaining, repairing, or inspecting any wastewater system, including any costs or requirements related to the pump-out of septic tanks, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

8. The owner makes no representations with respect to any right to install or use solar energy collection devices on the property;

9. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is located in one or more special flood hazard areas, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary, including (i) obtaining a flood certification or mortgage lender determination of whether the property is located in one or more special flood hazard areas, (ii) reviewing any map depicting special flood hazard areas, (iii) contacting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or visiting the website for FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program or the Virginia Flood Risk Information website operated by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and (iv) determining whether flood insurance is required, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract. A flood risk information form, pursuant to the provisions of subsection D, that provides additional information on flood risk and flood insurance is available for download by the Real Estate Board on its website;

10. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is subject to one or more conservation or other easements, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

11. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is subject to a community development authority approved by a local governing body pursuant to Article 6 (§ 15.2-5152 et seq.) of Chapter 51 of Title 15.2, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, including determining whether a copy of the resolution or ordinance has been recorded in the land records of the circuit court for the locality in which the community development authority district is located for each tax parcel included in the district pursuant to § 15.2-5157, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

12. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is located on or near deposits of marine clays (marumsco soils), and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, including consulting public resources regarding local soil conditions and having the soil and structural conditions of the property analyzed by a qualified professional;

13. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is located in a locality classified as Zone 1 or Zone 2 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Map of Radon Zones, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary to determine whether the property is located in such a zone, including (i) reviewing the EPA's Map of Radon Zones or visiting the EPA's radon information website; (ii) visiting the Virginia Department of Health's Indoor Radon Program website; (iii) visiting the National Radon Proficiency Program's website; (iv) visiting the National Radon Safety Board's website that lists the Board's certified contractors; and (v) ordering a radon inspection, in accordance with the terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

14. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property contains any pipe, pipe or plumbing fitting, fixture, solder, or flux that does not meet the federal Safe Drinking Water Act definition of "lead free" pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 300g-6, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary to determine whether the property contains any pipe, pipe or plumbing fitting, fixture, solder, or flux that does not meet the federal Safe Drinking Water Act definition of "lead free," in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

15. The owner makes no representations with respect to the existence of defective drywall on the property, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary to determine whether there is defective drywall on the property, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract. For purposes of this subdivision, "defective drywall" means the same as that term is defined in § 36-156.1; and

16. The owner makes no representation with respect to the condition or regulatory status of any impounding structure or dam on the property or under the ownership of the common interest community that the owner of the property is required to join, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary to determine the condition, regulatory status, cost of required maintenance and operation, or other relevant information pertaining to the impounding structure or dam, including contacting the Department of Conservation and Recreation or a licensed professional engineer.

C. The residential property disclosure statement shall be delivered in accordance with § 55.1-709.

D. The Real Estate Board shall make available on its website a flood risk information form. Such form shall be substantially as follows:

Flood Risk Information Form

The purpose of this information form is to provide property owners and potential property owners with information regarding flood risk. This information form does not determine whether a property owner will be required to purchase a flood insurance policy. That determination is made by the lender providing a loan for the property at the lender's discretion.

Mortgage lenders are mandated under the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 to require the purchase of flood insurance by property owners who acquire loans from federally regulated, supervised, or insured financial institutions for the acquisition or improvement of land, facilities, or structures located within or to be located within a Special Flood Hazard Area. A Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) is a high-risk area defined as any land that would be inundated by a flood, also known as a base flood, having a one percent chance of occurring in a given year. The lender reviews the current National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) maps for the community in which the property is located to determine its location relative to the published SFHA and completes the Standard Flood Hazard Determination Form (SFHDF), created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). If the lender determines that the structure is indeed located within a SFHA and the community is participating in the NFIP, the borrower is then notified that flood insurance will be required as a condition of receiving the loan. A similar review and notification are completed whenever a loan is sold on the secondary loan market or when the lender completes a routine review of its mortgage portfolio.

Properties that are not located in a SFHA can still flood. Flood damage is not generally covered by a standard home insurance policy. It is prudent to consider purchasing flood insurance even when flood insurance is not required by a lender. Properties not located in a SFHA may be eligible for a low-cost preferred risk flood insurance policy. Property owners and buyers are encouraged to consult with their insurance agent about flood insurance.

What is a flood? A flood is a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties, at least one of which is the policyholder's property, from (i) overflow of inland or tidal waters, (ii) unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, (iii) mudflow, or (iv) collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood.

FEMA is required to update Flood Maps every five years. Flood zones for this property may change due to periodic map updates. To determine what flood zone or zones a property is located in a buyer can visit the website for FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program or the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation's Flood Risk Information System website.


SENATE BILL NO. 286
AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE
(Proposed by the House Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns
on March 4, 2022)
(Patron Prior to Substitute--Senator Ebbin)
A BILL to amend and reenact § 55.1-703 of the Code of Virginia, relating to required disclosure for buyer to beware; buyer due diligence; historic districts.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That § 55.1-703 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 55.1-703. Required disclosures for buyer to beware; buyer to exercise necessary due diligence.

A. The owner of the residential real property shall furnish to a purchaser a residential property disclosure statement for the buyer to beware of certain matters that may affect the buyer's decision to purchase such real property. Such statement shall be provided by the Real Estate Board on its website.

B. The residential property disclosure statement provided by the Real Estate Board on its website shall include the following:

1. The owner makes no representations or warranties as to the condition of the real property or any improvements thereon, or with regard to any covenants and restrictions, or any conveyances of mineral rights, as may be recorded among the land records affecting the real property or any improvements thereon, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary, including obtaining a home inspection, as defined in § 54.1-500, a mold assessment conducted by a business that follows the guidelines provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and a residential building energy analysis, as defined in § 54.1-1144, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

2. The owner makes no representations with respect to any matters that may pertain to parcels adjacent to the subject parcel, including zoning classification or permitted uses of adjacent parcels, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary with respect to adjacent parcels in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

3. The owner makes no representations to any matters that pertain to whether the provisions of any historic district ordinance affect the property, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary with respect to any historic district designated by the locality pursuant to § 15.2-2306, including review of (i) any local ordinance creating such district, (ii) any official map adopted by the locality depicting historic districts, and (iii) a survey of the property, and (iv) any materials available from the locality that explain (a) any requirements to alter, reconstruct, renovate, restore, or demolish buildings or signs in the local historic district and (b) the necessity of any local review board or governing body approvals prior to doing any work on a property located in a local historic district, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

4. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property contains any resource protection areas established in an ordinance implementing the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (§ 62.1-44.15:67 et seq.) adopted by the locality where the property is located pursuant to § 62.1-44.15:74, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary to determine whether the provisions of any such ordinance affect the property, including review of any official map adopted by the locality depicting resource protection areas, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

5. The owner makes no representations with respect to information on any sexual offenders registered under Chapter 23 (§ 19.2-387 et seq.) of Title 19.2, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary with respect to such information, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

6. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is within a dam break inundation zone. Such disclosure statement shall advise purchasers to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary with respect to whether the property resides within a dam break inundation zone, including a review of any map adopted by the locality depicting dam break inundation zones;

7. The owner makes no representations with respect to the presence of any wastewater system, including the type or size of the wastewater system or associated maintenance responsibilities related to the wastewater system, located on the property, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary to determine the presence of any wastewater system on the property and the costs associated with maintaining, repairing, or inspecting any wastewater system, including any costs or requirements related to the pump-out of septic tanks, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

8. The owner makes no representations with respect to any right to install or use solar energy collection devices on the property;

9. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is located in one or more special flood hazard areas, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary, including (i) obtaining a flood certification or mortgage lender determination of whether the property is located in one or more special flood hazard areas, (ii) reviewing any map depicting special flood hazard areas, (iii) contacting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or visiting the website for FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program or the Virginia Flood Risk Information website operated by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and (iv) determining whether flood insurance is required, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract. A flood risk information form, pursuant to the provisions of subsection D, that provides additional information on flood risk and flood insurance is available for download by the Real Estate Board on its website;

10. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is subject to one or more conservation or other easements, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

11. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is subject to a community development authority approved by a local governing body pursuant to Article 6 (§ 15.2-5152 et seq.) of Chapter 51 of Title 15.2, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, including determining whether a copy of the resolution or ordinance has been recorded in the land records of the circuit court for the locality in which the community development authority district is located for each tax parcel included in the district pursuant to § 15.2-5157, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

12. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is located on or near deposits of marine clays (marumsco soils), and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, including consulting public resources regarding local soil conditions and having the soil and structural conditions of the property analyzed by a qualified professional;

13. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is located in a locality classified as Zone 1 or Zone 2 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Map of Radon Zones, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary to determine whether the property is located in such a zone, including (i) reviewing the EPA's Map of Radon Zones or visiting the EPA's radon information website; (ii) visiting the Virginia Department of Health's Indoor Radon Program website; (iii) visiting the National Radon Proficiency Program's website; (iv) visiting the National Radon Safety Board's website that lists the Board's certified contractors; and (v) ordering a radon inspection, in accordance with the terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

14. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property contains any pipe, pipe or plumbing fitting, fixture, solder, or flux that does not meet the federal Safe Drinking Water Act definition of "lead free" pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 300g-6, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary to determine whether the property contains any pipe, pipe or plumbing fitting, fixture, solder, or flux that does not meet the federal Safe Drinking Water Act definition of "lead free," in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

15. The owner makes no representations with respect to the existence of defective drywall on the property, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary to determine whether there is defective drywall on the property, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract. For purposes of this subdivision, "defective drywall" means the same as that term is defined in § 36-156.1; and

16. The owner makes no representation with respect to the condition or regulatory status of any impounding structure or dam on the property or under the ownership of the common interest community that the owner of the property is required to join, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary to determine the condition, regulatory status, cost of required maintenance and operation, or other relevant information pertaining to the impounding structure or dam, including contacting the Department of Conservation and Recreation or a licensed professional engineer.

C. The residential property disclosure statement shall be delivered in accordance with § 55.1-709.

D. The Real Estate Board shall make available on its website a flood risk information form. Such form shall be substantially as follows:

Flood Risk Information Form

The purpose of this information form is to provide property owners and potential property owners with information regarding flood risk. This information form does not determine whether a property owner will be required to purchase a flood insurance policy. That determination is made by the lender providing a loan for the property at the lender's discretion.

Mortgage lenders are mandated under the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 to require the purchase of flood insurance by property owners who acquire loans from federally regulated, supervised, or insured financial institutions for the acquisition or improvement of land, facilities, or structures located within or to be located within a Special Flood Hazard Area. A Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) is a high-risk area defined as any land that would be inundated by a flood, also known as a base flood, having a one percent chance of occurring in a given year. The lender reviews the current National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) maps for the community in which the property is located to determine its location relative to the published SFHA and completes the Standard Flood Hazard Determination Form (SFHDF), created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). If the lender determines that the structure is indeed located within a SFHA and the community is participating in the NFIP, the borrower is then notified that flood insurance will be required as a condition of receiving the loan. A similar review and notification are completed whenever a loan is sold on the secondary loan market or when the lender completes a routine review of its mortgage portfolio.

Properties that are not located in a SFHA can still flood. Flood damage is not generally covered by a standard home insurance policy. It is prudent to consider purchasing flood insurance even when flood insurance is not required by a lender. Properties not located in a SFHA may be eligible for a low-cost preferred risk flood insurance policy. Property owners and buyers are encouraged to consult with their insurance agent about flood insurance.

What is a flood? A flood is a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties, at least one of which is the policyholder's property, from (i) overflow of inland or tidal waters, (ii) unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, (iii) mudflow, or (iv) collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood.

FEMA is required to update Flood Maps every five years. Flood zones for this property may change due to periodic map updates. To determine what flood zone or zones a property is located in a buyer can visit the website for FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program or the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation's Flood Risk Information System website.


SENATE BILL NO. 286
Senate Amendments in [ ] – January 19, 2022
Prefiled January 11, 2022
A BILL to amend and reenact § 15.2-2306 of the Code of Virginia, relating to historic districts; property survey.
Patron Prior to Engrossment--Senator Ebbin

Referred to Committee on Local Government

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That § 15.2-2306 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 15.2-2306. Preservation of historical sites and architectural areas.

A. 1. Any locality may adopt an ordinance setting forth the historic landmarks within the locality as established by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources, and any other buildings or structures within the locality having an important historic, architectural, archaeological or cultural interest, any historic areas within the locality as defined by § 15.2-2201, and areas of unique architectural value located within designated conservation, rehabilitation or redevelopment districts, amending the existing zoning ordinance and delineating one or more historic districts, adjacent to such landmarks, buildings and structures, or encompassing such areas, or encompassing parcels of land contiguous to arterial streets or highways (as designated pursuant to Title 33.2, including § 33.2-319 of that title) found by the governing body to be significant routes of tourist access to the locality or to designated historic landmarks, buildings, structures or districts therein or in a contiguous locality. A governing body may provide in the ordinance that the applicant must submit documentation that any development in an area of the locality of known historical or archaeological significance will preserve or accommodate the historical or archaeological resources. An amendment of the zoning ordinance and the establishment of a district or districts shall be in accordance with the provisions of Article 7 (§ 15.2-2280 et seq.) of this chapter. The governing body may provide for a review board to administer the ordinance and may provide compensation to the board. The ordinance may include a provision that no building or structure, including signs, shall be erected, reconstructed, altered or restored within any such district unless approved by the review board or, on appeal, by the governing body of the locality as being architecturally compatible with the historic landmarks, buildings or structures therein.

2. Subject to the provisions of subdivision 3 of this subsection the governing body may provide in the ordinance that no historic landmark, building or structure within any district shall be razed, demolished or moved until the razing, demolition or moving thereof is approved by the review board, or, on appeal, by the governing body after consultation with the review board.

3. The governing body shall provide by ordinance for appeals to the circuit court for such locality from any final decision of the governing body pursuant to subdivisions 1 and 2 of this subsection and shall specify therein the parties entitled to appeal the decisions, which parties shall have the right to appeal to the circuit court for review by filing a petition at law, setting forth the alleged illegality of the action of the governing body, provided the petition is filed within thirty days after the final decision is rendered by the governing body. The filing of the petition shall stay the decision of the governing body pending the outcome of the appeal to the court, except that the filing of the petition shall not stay the decision of the governing body if the decision denies the right to raze or demolish a historic landmark, building or structure. The court may reverse or modify the decision of the governing body, in whole or in part, if it finds upon review that the decision of the governing body is contrary to law or that its decision is arbitrary and constitutes an abuse of discretion, or it may affirm the decision of the governing body.

In addition to the right of appeal hereinabove set forth, the owner of a historic landmark, building or structure, the razing or demolition of which is subject to the provisions of subdivision 2 of this subsection, shall, as a matter of right, be entitled to raze or demolish such landmark, building or structure provided that: (i) he has applied to the governing body for such right, (ii) the owner has for the period of time set forth in the same schedule hereinafter contained and at a price reasonably related to its fair market value, made a bona fide offer to sell the landmark, building or structure, and the land pertaining thereto, to the locality or to any person, firm, corporation, government or agency thereof, or political subdivision or agency thereof, which gives reasonable assurance that it is willing to preserve and restore the landmark, building or structure and the land pertaining thereto, and (iii) no bona fide contract, binding upon all parties thereto, shall have been executed for the sale of any such landmark, building or structure, and the land pertaining thereto, prior to the expiration of the applicable time period set forth in the time schedule hereinafter contained. Any appeal which may be taken to the court from the decision of the governing body, whether instituted by the owner or by any other proper party, notwithstanding the provisions heretofore stated relating to a stay of the decision appealed from shall not affect the right of the owner to make the bona fide offer to sell referred to above. No offer to sell shall be made more than one year after a final decision by the governing body, but thereafter the owner may renew his request to the governing body to approve the razing or demolition of the historic landmark, building or structure. The time schedule for offers to sell shall be as follows: three months when the offering price is less than $25,000; four months when the offering price is $25,000 or more but less than $40,000; five months when the offering price is $40,000 or more but less than $55,000; six months when the offering price is $55,000 or more but less than $75,000; seven months when the offering price is $75,000 or more but less than $90,000; and twelve months when the offering price is $90,000 or more.

4. The governing body is authorized to acquire in any legal manner any historic area, landmark, building or structure, land pertaining thereto, or any estate or interest therein which, in the opinion of the governing body should be acquired, preserved and maintained for the use, observation, education, pleasure and welfare of the people; provide for their renovation, preservation, maintenance, management and control as places of historic interest by a department of the locality or by a board, commission or agency specially established by ordinance for the purpose; charge or authorize the charging of compensation for the use thereof or admission thereto; lease, subject to such regulations as may be established by ordinance, any such area, property, lands or estate or interest therein so acquired upon the condition that the historic character of the area, landmark, building, structure or land shall be preserved and maintained; or to enter into contracts with any person, firm or corporation for the management, preservation, maintenance or operation of any such area, landmark, building, structure, land pertaining thereto or interest therein so acquired as a place of historic interest; however, the locality shall not use the right of condemnation under this subsection unless the historic value of such area, landmark, building, structure, land pertaining thereto, or estate or interest therein is about to be destroyed.

The authority to enter into contracts with any person, firm or corporation as stated above may include the creation, by ordinance, of a resident curator program such that private entities through lease or other contract may be engaged to manage, preserve, maintain, or operate, including the option to reside in, any such historic area, property, lands, or estate owned or leased by the locality. Any leases or contracts entered into under this provision shall require that all maintenance and improvement be conducted in accordance with established treatment standards for historic landmarks, areas, buildings, and structures. For purposes of this section, leases or contracts that preserve historic landmarks, buildings, structures, or areas are deemed to be consistent with the purposes of use, observation, education, pleasure, and welfare of the people as stated above so long as the lease or contract provides for reasonable public access consistent with the property's nature and use. The Department of Historic Resources shall provide technical assistance to local governments, at their request, to assist in developing resident curator programs.

B. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, general or special, in the City of Portsmouth no approval of any governmental agency or review board shall be required for the construction of a ramp to serve the handicapped at any structure designated pursuant to the provisions of this section.

C. Any locality that establishes or expands a local historic district pursuant to this section shall identify and inventory all landmarks, buildings, or structures in the areas being considered for inclusion within the proposed district. Prior to adoption of an ordinance establishing or expanding a local historic district, the locality shall (i) provide for public input from the community and affected property owners in accordance with § 15.2-2204; (ii) establish written criteria to be used to determine which properties should be included within a local historic district; and (iii) review the inventory and the criteria to determine which properties in the areas being considered for inclusion within the proposed district meet the criteria to be included in a local historic district. Local historic district boundaries may be adjusted to exclude properties along the perimeter that do not meet the criteria. The locality shall include only the geographical areas in a local historic district where a majority of the properties meet the criteria established by the locality in accordance with this section. However, parcels of land contiguous to arterial streets or highways found by the governing body to be significant routes of tourist access to the locality or to designated historic landmarks, buildings, structures, or districts therein, or in a contiguous locality may be included in a local historic district notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection.

D. Any locality utilizing the urban county executive form of government may include a provision in any ordinance adopted pursuant to this section that would allow public access to any such historic area, landmark, building, or structure, or land pertaining thereto, or providing that no subdivision shall occur within any historic district unless approved by the review board or, on appeal, by the governing body of the locality as being compatible with the historic nature of such area, landmarks, buildings, or structures therein with regard to any parcel or parcels that collectively are (i) adjacent to a navigable river and a national park and (ii) in part or as a whole subject to an easement granted to the National Park Service or Virginia Outdoors Foundation granted on or after January 1, 1973.

E. Any locality [ within Planning District 8 ] that establishes a local historic district pursuant to this section may require that a survey of property lines be completed prior to a land purchase within the historic district.

SENATE BILL NO. 286

Offered January 12, 2022
Prefiled January 11, 2022
A BILL to amend and reenact § 15.2-2306 of the Code of Virginia, relating to historic districts; property survey.
Patron-- Ebbin

Referred to Committee on Local Government

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That § 15.2-2306 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 15.2-2306. Preservation of historical sites and architectural areas.

A. 1. Any locality may adopt an ordinance setting forth the historic landmarks within the locality as established by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources, and any other buildings or structures within the locality having an important historic, architectural, archaeological or cultural interest, any historic areas within the locality as defined by § 15.2-2201, and areas of unique architectural value located within designated conservation, rehabilitation or redevelopment districts, amending the existing zoning ordinance and delineating one or more historic districts, adjacent to such landmarks, buildings and structures, or encompassing such areas, or encompassing parcels of land contiguous to arterial streets or highways (as designated pursuant to Title 33.2, including § 33.2-319 of that title) found by the governing body to be significant routes of tourist access to the locality or to designated historic landmarks, buildings, structures or districts therein or in a contiguous locality. A governing body may provide in the ordinance that the applicant must submit documentation that any development in an area of the locality of known historical or archaeological significance will preserve or accommodate the historical or archaeological resources. An amendment of the zoning ordinance and the establishment of a district or districts shall be in accordance with the provisions of Article 7 (§ 15.2-2280 et seq.) of this chapter. The governing body may provide for a review board to administer the ordinance and may provide compensation to the board. The ordinance may include a provision that no building or structure, including signs, shall be erected, reconstructed, altered or restored within any such district unless approved by the review board or, on appeal, by the governing body of the locality as being architecturally compatible with the historic landmarks, buildings or structures therein.

2. Subject to the provisions of subdivision 3 of this subsection the governing body may provide in the ordinance that no historic landmark, building or structure within any district shall be razed, demolished or moved until the razing, demolition or moving thereof is approved by the review board, or, on appeal, by the governing body after consultation with the review board.

3. The governing body shall provide by ordinance for appeals to the circuit court for such locality from any final decision of the governing body pursuant to subdivisions 1 and 2 of this subsection and shall specify therein the parties entitled to appeal the decisions, which parties shall have the right to appeal to the circuit court for review by filing a petition at law, setting forth the alleged illegality of the action of the governing body, provided the petition is filed within thirty days after the final decision is rendered by the governing body. The filing of the petition shall stay the decision of the governing body pending the outcome of the appeal to the court, except that the filing of the petition shall not stay the decision of the governing body if the decision denies the right to raze or demolish a historic landmark, building or structure. The court may reverse or modify the decision of the governing body, in whole or in part, if it finds upon review that the decision of the governing body is contrary to law or that its decision is arbitrary and constitutes an abuse of discretion, or it may affirm the decision of the governing body.

In addition to the right of appeal hereinabove set forth, the owner of a historic landmark, building or structure, the razing or demolition of which is subject to the provisions of subdivision 2 of this subsection, shall, as a matter of right, be entitled to raze or demolish such landmark, building or structure provided that: (i) he has applied to the governing body for such right, (ii) the owner has for the period of time set forth in the same schedule hereinafter contained and at a price reasonably related to its fair market value, made a bona fide offer to sell the landmark, building or structure, and the land pertaining thereto, to the locality or to any person, firm, corporation, government or agency thereof, or political subdivision or agency thereof, which gives reasonable assurance that it is willing to preserve and restore the landmark, building or structure and the land pertaining thereto, and (iii) no bona fide contract, binding upon all parties thereto, shall have been executed for the sale of any such landmark, building or structure, and the land pertaining thereto, prior to the expiration of the applicable time period set forth in the time schedule hereinafter contained. Any appeal which may be taken to the court from the decision of the governing body, whether instituted by the owner or by any other proper party, notwithstanding the provisions heretofore stated relating to a stay of the decision appealed from shall not affect the right of the owner to make the bona fide offer to sell referred to above. No offer to sell shall be made more than one year after a final decision by the governing body, but thereafter the owner may renew his request to the governing body to approve the razing or demolition of the historic landmark, building or structure. The time schedule for offers to sell shall be as follows: three months when the offering price is less than $25,000; four months when the offering price is $25,000 or more but less than $40,000; five months when the offering price is $40,000 or more but less than $55,000; six months when the offering price is $55,000 or more but less than $75,000; seven months when the offering price is $75,000 or more but less than $90,000; and twelve months when the offering price is $90,000 or more.

4. The governing body is authorized to acquire in any legal manner any historic area, landmark, building or structure, land pertaining thereto, or any estate or interest therein which, in the opinion of the governing body should be acquired, preserved and maintained for the use, observation, education, pleasure and welfare of the people; provide for their renovation, preservation, maintenance, management and control as places of historic interest by a department of the locality or by a board, commission or agency specially established by ordinance for the purpose; charge or authorize the charging of compensation for the use thereof or admission thereto; lease, subject to such regulations as may be established by ordinance, any such area, property, lands or estate or interest therein so acquired upon the condition that the historic character of the area, landmark, building, structure or land shall be preserved and maintained; or to enter into contracts with any person, firm or corporation for the management, preservation, maintenance or operation of any such area, landmark, building, structure, land pertaining thereto or interest therein so acquired as a place of historic interest; however, the locality shall not use the right of condemnation under this subsection unless the historic value of such area, landmark, building, structure, land pertaining thereto, or estate or interest therein is about to be destroyed.

The authority to enter into contracts with any person, firm or corporation as stated above may include the creation, by ordinance, of a resident curator program such that private entities through lease or other contract may be engaged to manage, preserve, maintain, or operate, including the option to reside in, any such historic area, property, lands, or estate owned or leased by the locality. Any leases or contracts entered into under this provision shall require that all maintenance and improvement be conducted in accordance with established treatment standards for historic landmarks, areas, buildings, and structures. For purposes of this section, leases or contracts that preserve historic landmarks, buildings, structures, or areas are deemed to be consistent with the purposes of use, observation, education, pleasure, and welfare of the people as stated above so long as the lease or contract provides for reasonable public access consistent with the property's nature and use. The Department of Historic Resources shall provide technical assistance to local governments, at their request, to assist in developing resident curator programs.

B. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, general or special, in the City of Portsmouth no approval of any governmental agency or review board shall be required for the construction of a ramp to serve the handicapped at any structure designated pursuant to the provisions of this section.

C. Any locality that establishes or expands a local historic district pursuant to this section shall identify and inventory all landmarks, buildings, or structures in the areas being considered for inclusion within the proposed district. Prior to adoption of an ordinance establishing or expanding a local historic district, the locality shall (i) provide for public input from the community and affected property owners in accordance with § 15.2-2204; (ii) establish written criteria to be used to determine which properties should be included within a local historic district; and (iii) review the inventory and the criteria to determine which properties in the areas being considered for inclusion within the proposed district meet the criteria to be included in a local historic district. Local historic district boundaries may be adjusted to exclude properties along the perimeter that do not meet the criteria. The locality shall include only the geographical areas in a local historic district where a majority of the properties meet the criteria established by the locality in accordance with this section. However, parcels of land contiguous to arterial streets or highways found by the governing body to be significant routes of tourist access to the locality or to designated historic landmarks, buildings, structures, or districts therein, or in a contiguous locality may be included in a local historic district notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection.

D. Any locality utilizing the urban county executive form of government may include a provision in any ordinance adopted pursuant to this section that would allow public access to any such historic area, landmark, building, or structure, or land pertaining thereto, or providing that no subdivision shall occur within any historic district unless approved by the review board or, on appeal, by the governing body of the locality as being compatible with the historic nature of such area, landmarks, buildings, or structures therein with regard to any parcel or parcels that collectively are (i) adjacent to a navigable river and a national park and (ii) in part or as a whole subject to an easement granted to the National Park Service or Virginia Outdoors Foundation granted on or after January 1, 1973.

E. Any locality that establishes a local historic district pursuant to this section may require that a survey of property lines be completed prior to a land purchase within the historic district.