A new initiative to provide better proffer compliance tracking has launched in Fairfax County. The initiative requires applicants to submit a standalone proffer compliance matrix beginning at the first site plan submission.  That matrix is required to be updated as a development project moves through building plan review, occupancy, and bond release.  The overall goal of the new process is to create clarity for developers and Fairfax County regarding the status of a project’s proffer compliance.

The new proffer compliance requirements go into effect on June 27, 2017. If you have any questions about the new process contact Scott Adams at sadams@mcguirewoods.com.

Fairfax County Technical Bulletin

Loudoun County has approved actions to avoid the new proffer restrictions that become effective on July 1, 2016.  On June 23, the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution to create three new “small area comprehensive plans” comprising what is now the Suburban Policy Area, where most rezonings are expected.  Each small area plan will encompass one of the planned Metrorail stations in the County.  Under the new proffer bill, the restrictions that prohibit many of the proffers Loudoun has requested in the past do not apply to rezonings subject to such small area plans.

The Board has set a schedule for adoption of the new small area plans in October.  This schedule doesn’t allow for much community engagement, so the contents of the plan are likely to look very much like the existing Revised General Plan.  Don’t expect much activity on rezonings filed after July 1 until these new Small Area Plans are adopted.  The Board resolution prohibits county officials from discussing proffers related to new applications until the small area plans are done.

Proposed New Small Area Plans

Item 04 Resolution to Administer New Proffer Legislation

A new Virginia State statute governing what proffers local governments may and may not require of residential developers is set to become effective July 01, 2016. The bill injects a significant amount of legal uncertainty into the proffer process and is highly likely to make the proffer negotiation process even more difficult to navigate as parties attempt to discern the legal significance of the new statute. Fortunately, the statute includes a grandfather clause, meaning it will not apply to any rezoning applications filed prior to July 01, 2016. McGuireWoods has confirmed with Fairfax County staff that they will not be applying the statute’s rules to such applications. For this reason, we strongly recommend property owners considering redevelopment in the medium to near term call us immediately to avoid the ramifications of this new statute.

Last week Governor McAuliffe signed into law a bill adopted by the Virginia General Assembly that will impact the permitted substance of proffered conditions throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia – particularly as related to projects with a residential component.  The new law has the potential to significantly affect the legal positions of landowners and developers and creates new rules for all pending and contemplated proffered land use projects.  In our judgment the new law creates risks, offers some opportunities and raises important procedural considerations for proffered rezonings.  There are also nuanced exceptions to the law that may be applicable in urban or transit oriented areas of many NOVA localities.  In the coming weeks, we expect the localities to issue initial statements and positions concerning their view of the nature and extent of such exceptions.

We and our affiliated McGuireWoods Consulting legislative team have carefully followed the development of this law through the entire legislative process.  Based on our extensive experience with legislation of this type and our well-developed relationships with regulators and decision makers in all of the northern Virginia counties, cities and towns, we have a number of strategic recommendations for clients that have pending or contemplated land use applications.   Please feel free to contact any member of our land use team for further information

 

 

Gramercy DistrictAshburn Station

 

 

 

 

 

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors approved changes to the Loudoun Station Zoning District needed to start construction of the Ashburn (Route 772) Silver Line Metro Station at its last meeting in December 2015.  The proffer and concept plan amendments authorize a new commuter parking garage, transit connector bridge and expansion of the planned Kiss and Ride and bus loop adjacent to the station.

As part of its action, the Board relieved phasing requirements that would have halted residential construction until the desired mix of office and commercial was delivered.  In changing the phasing, the Board members expressed confidence that non-residential development will happen at the Metro sites.  Board Chairman York stated that residential will help create the demand for commercial and provide riders for Metro when it opens in 2020.

The Board action also recognized the divided ownership of the Loudoun Station Zoning District by approving separate concept plans for the Comstock-owned portion of Loudoun Station and the Gramercy District.  Comstock and Gramercy are expected to file Final Development Plans for the next phases of Loudoun Station in 2016. 22 Capital Partners, LLC is the lead investor and Manager of Gramercy District. Jonathan Rak and Lori Greenlief represented Gramercy in this approval.