RD498 - Report on Proffered Cash Payments and Expenditures By Virginia’s Counties, Cities and Towns 2015-2016

Executive Summary:
Section 15.2-2303.2 of the Code of Virginia directs the Commission on Local Government to collect annually data concerning local government revenues and expenditures resulting from the acceptance of voluntarily proffered cash payments.(*1) These voluntarily proffered payments, also referred to as cash proffers, comprise either (1) any money voluntarily proffered in writing signed by the owner of property subject to rezoning, and accepted by a locality pursuant to the authority granted by § 15.2-2298 or § 15.2-2303 of the Code of Virginia; or (2) any payment of money made pursuant to a development agreement entered into under the authority granted by § 15.2-2303.1 of the Code of Virginia.

Cash proffers are a form of conditional zoning in Virginia. Conditional zoning involves “proffered” conditions voluntarily offered by a developer or property owner that limit or qualify how the property subject to the conditions will be used or developed. These conditions are in addition to the general, uniform regulations otherwise applicable to land within the same zoning district, and they are made to lessen the potential negative effects of an unrestricted rezoning. Upon approval by the local governing body, the conditions become part of the rezoning and pass with the ownership of the property.(*2) In some instances, the condition proffered by the developer or property owner may include cash contributions to the locality.

Cash proffers generally are used to offset the impacts of a particular development by providing funding for new roads, schools, or other public facilities and services. Depending on the statutory authority under which the locality is eligible to accept the cash proffer, the development impacts being mitigated may or may not be directly related to the development at issue.(*3)

Although the Code of Virginia has authorized every jurisdiction to use some form of conditional zoning since 1987, only localities meeting specific criteria may accept cash proffers. On the basis of these criteria and census data from 1990 through 2010, a total of 298 Virginia localities (89 counties, 36 cities, and 173 towns) were eligible to accept cash proffers during FY 2016.(*4)
(*1) See Appendix A for the text of § 15.2-2303.2, Code of Virginia, which directs the Commission to collect data on local government proffered cash payments and expenditures for the preceding fiscal year and report by November 30 of each year to the Chairmen of the Senate Committee on Local Government and the House Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns.
(*2) Virginia Citizens Planning Association and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, The Language of Planning, Community Planning Series, V (June, 1986), p. 10.
(*3) John H. Foote, “Planning and Zoning,” Handbook of Virginia Local Government Law, ed. by Susan Warriner Custer, 2001 Edition, pp. 1-11 – 1-14.
(*4) U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population, Number of Inhabitants, Table 4; U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 2000 Census of Population and Housing, Summary File 1 (SF 1) 100-Percent Data; U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File. Sec. 1-235, Code of Va. states that unless otherwise specified, unadjusted population statistics are to the used in determining the decennial growth rate. See Appendix B for the list of Virginia localities with statutory authority to accept cash proffers.