Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
Grandfathering those energy-efficient buildings that have been already approved
Supervisor Hap Connors left a voicemail on my phone yesterday saying that he, Supervisor Gary Skinner, Supervisor Jerry Logan, County Administrator Doug Barnes and County Attorney Jacob Stroman are trying to come up with a plan that will grandfather in owners of energy-efficient buildings whose applications were already approved. That would mean they would still get the five years of a 100-percent rebate on their real estate taxes.
This effort is likely to thwart a lawsuit, as numerous people who spoke at the public hearing Tuesday night said that they would sue the county if they did not grandfather their already-approved applications.
Supervisor Jerry Logan, who supported a grandfather clause, also has county staff inquiring with the attorney general for an opinion on grandfathering for this situation. However, that opinion could be months away, or longer.
Virginia is a Dillon Rule State, which means local governments have no inherent rights to self-governing. Dillon’s Law requires that localities must obtain express permission from the state before enacting certain kinds of legislation. Legislation required by Dillon’s Law is often called “Enabling” legislation.
Here are some PDFs on the Dillon Rule that might help explain why this is a problem:
Here is background on the tax break