vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for and The Free Lance-Star.

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Comprehensive Plan Plans

I’ve gotten a couple of messages from folks who want to know more about the "legal" aspects of the comp plan approval process. While it is true that the Planning Commission is an appointed body and works only in an advisory capacity, the comp plan process is one that potentially gives the Planning Commission more leeway to operate. There are also specific processes to follow, as spelled out in state code. The following are code sections mentioned by County Attorney Joe Howard and Deputy County Attorney Samuel Nugent.

To be as murky as possible, county attorneys seem to agree that the process, as written by the general assembly, is not crystal clear.

§ 15.2-2227. Return of plan to local planning commission; resubmission.

If the governing body disapproves the plan, then it shall be returned to the local planning commission for its reconsideration, with a written statement of the reasons for its disapproval.

The commission shall have sixty days in which to reconsider the plan and resubmit it, with any changes, to the governing body.

§ 15.2-2228. Adoption of parts of plan.

As the work of preparing the comprehensive plan progresses, the local planning commission may, from time to time, recommend, and the governing body approve and adopt, parts thereof. Any such part shall cover one or more major sections or divisions of the locality or one or more functional matters.

§ 15.2-2229. Amendments.

After the adoption of a comprehensive plan, all amendments to it shall be recommended, and approved and adopted, respectively, as required by § 15.2-2204. If the governing body desires an amendment it may direct the local planning commission to prepare an amendment and submit it to public hearing within sixty days after formal written request by the governing body. In acting on any amendments to the plan, the governing body shall act within ninety days of the local planning commission’s recommending resolution.

§ 15.2-2230. Plan to be reviewed at least once every five years.

At least once every five years the comprehensive plan shall be reviewed by the local planning commission to determine whether it is advisable to amend the plan.

For all the state code you can handle, check it out here.