Categorized | News, Opinion


Del. Peace has co-sponsored this amendment to the Virginia Code:

§ 15.2-2208.1. Damages for unconstitutional grant or denial by locality of certain permits and approvals.

A. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, general or special, any applicant aggrieved by the grant or denial by a locality of any approval or permit, however described or delineated, including a special exception, special use permit, conditional use permit, rezoning, site plan, plan of development, subdivision plan, construction plan submittal, waiver, and building or occupancy permit, where such grant included, or denial was based upon, an unconstitutional condition pursuant to the United States Constitution or Constitution of Virginia, shall be entitled to an award of damages, reasonable attorney fees, and court costs and to an order remanding the matter to the locality with a direction to grant or issue such permits or approvals without such conditions.

B. In any proceeding, once an unconstitutional condition has been proven by the aggrieved applicant to have been a factor in the grant or denial of the approval or permit, the court shall presume, absent clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, that such applicant’s acceptance of or refusal to accept the unconstitutional condition was the controlling basis for such impermissible grant or denial.

I love it!  Yes there should be a remedy to the landowner for the actions of local government if the court finds a violation of the federal or state constitutions.  It is very easy for a local government to coerce land owners through permitting requirements and fees.  If you want to track this bill, go here!  Also, contact your delegate on this bill.  This recent Supreme Court of the United States case from Florida highlights a statute similar to this.

Senator Obenshain’s similar bill SB 1578 has passed out of the Senate Courts Committee.  Let’s give Del. Morris and Peace’s bill a shout out.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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