Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law Feb. 28, 2013

By: Andrew McRoberts, Editor. This was posted Thursday, February 28th, 2013

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Today, the Virginia Supreme Court issued several opinions affecting Virginia local government law.  The opinions run the gamut from the voluntary payment doctrine, to vested rights in zoning, to the county claims statute.

Congratulations to the local governments who prevailed.

The summaries below are from the Virginia Supreme Court website.  Click on the case number and name to read the opinions:

120384 D.R. Horton, Inc. v. Board of Supervisors [for the County of Warren] 02/28/2013  In a declaratory judgment suit by a real estate developer, the circuit court did not err in ruling that certain building permit fees the developer paid to a county, which were later found to be unlawful, were nonetheless paid “voluntarily” under the common law voluntary payment doctrine, thus defeating the claim for their return. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

120634 Norfolk 102, LLC v. City of Norfolk 02/28/2013   Two businesses operating as entertainment establishments serving alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption under previous versions of a city’s zoning ordinance pursuant to a blanket special exception that was later revoked, cannot claim vested rights under Code § 15.2-2307 to a land use that was impermissible under the applicable zoning ordinance when they opened for business. No city official issued a determination under Code § 15.2-2311(C) authorizing use of these business premises in a manner not otherwise permitted under the zoning ordinances. Because the two businesses had notice of and an opportunity to be heard during the city council meeting when their applications for individual special use exceptions were considered and denied, any statutory notice issues were waived under Code § 15.2-2204 and their procedural due process rights were not violated. The circuit court’s judgments denying declaratory and injunctive relief to the businesses, holding that the city acted lawfully in revoking the blanket special exception and in denying the businesses’ applications for individual special exceptions, upholding the determination that the businesses possessed no vested rights, and granting the city’s request for injunctive relief, are affirmed.

120711 County of Albemarle v. Camirand 02/28/2013   In seeking relief in the circuit court from a county board of supervisors’ decision disallowing payment of a portion of certain retirement benefits due to former county employees, based on a miscalculation by a current county employee, the “Appeal Bond” filed by the former county employees did not comply with the requirement for “written notice” of an appeal pursuant to Code § 15.2-1246, and the preamble to this document did not alter its function as a bond. Thus, the circuit court erred in failing to sustain the defendants’ demurrer. Its judgment is reversed, the appeal is dismissed with prejudice, and final judgment is entered in favor of the county defendants.

Expect more discussion on some of these cases on this blog in the near future.



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