Archive for the ‘land use’ Category

The “ABCs” of Vested Rights in Zoning

Recently, I spoke to a group of local government officials and staff and other interested persons on the history of vested rights in Virginia, the recent vested rights cases decided in 2012 and 2013, and the state of the law in 2013. This is a very complex area, both in the case law of Supreme […]


When is a Zoning Amendment a “Substantial Burden” under RLUIPA? The Fourth Circuit Speaks

On January 31, 2013, the Fourth C ircuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in the case of Bethel World Outreach Ministries of Montgomery County v. Montgomery County Council. In this opinion, the Fourth Circuit clarified the standard the courts should apply when a claim is made under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons […]


A Government Solution

I am often asked. “What kind of law do you practice?”  As a long-time local government attorney, most of my practice involves representing and defending litigation against governments, governmental entities, officials and their employees.  That is what I have done for most of my legal career in private practice and as a full-time attorney with Arlington, Culpeper […]


VDOT Secondary Roads Study: Will State Roads Become Local Again?

At the end of June, the Virginia Secretary of Transportation announced a new study dated June 16, 2011 that says something we all have known for a decade or more — the state has no funds to adequately maintain our roads, let alone construct new ones, and that our roads and bridges are in a […]


Top 10 Take-Aways from Webinar on New Tax Assessment Appeal Legislation

On May 12, 2011, Sands Anderson PC held a webinar for local government attorneys, assessors, Commissioners of the Revenue, Boards of Equalization and local government staff involved in the local government assessment and appeal process.  The Virginia Municipal League’s Mark Flynn and myself served on the panel. The webinar was a big success!  About 130 […]


Guest Post on Musings: Virginia Infrastructure Needs Hurt Economic Development

Today, my first guest post went up on Chris Hill’s Construction Law Musings blog!  It is entitled, “Virginia Infrastructure Needs Hurt Economic Development.”  Feel free to click on the link to read it. As a long-time local government attorney who has observed first-hand the effects of a lack of public infrastructure funding in Virginia, I […]


Classifying to Not Tax Residential Property: Constitutional? FFW Enterprises v Fairfax County

Constitutional issues related to classification of property for taxation were at issue in FFW Enterprises v. Fairfax County, another opinion issued by the Virginia Supreme Court on November 4, 2010.


West Creek Redux? TB Venture LLC v Arlington County

Another opinion issued by the Virginia Supreme Court on November 4, 2010, TB Venture LLC v Arlington County involved the proper assessment of a 21-unit condominium development in urban Arlington County, which is a lot different


Virginia BZAs Get “Off the Hook” on Appeal

The 2010 Virginia General Assembly adopted HB 1063, which is a helpful simplification of the process by which BZA decisions are appealed to circuit court. It is effective July 1, 2010, and is published at 2010 Virginia Acts of Assembly chapter 241.


Zoning and Privatization of Virginia’s ABC Stores

In his campaign, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell proposed privatization of the state-owned ABC (liquor) stores as one way to raise revenue without raising taxes. It is important to remember that taking a use that is now public and making it private has repercusions under local land use law and can have concerns for the citizens.