Archive for the ‘zoning’ Category

Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law: December 17, 2015, January 14, 2016 and February 12, 2016

The Virginia Supreme Court issued opinions on February 12, 2016, just before Jane Marum Roush’s second interim gubernatorial appointment to the Virginia Supreme Court expired. This author does not typically make political commentary, but in this case, I will make an exception.  No matter how this situation happened, I hope that this issue will be […]


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 […]


Summertime and the Livin’ is … Busy

With apologies to Gershwin, Heyward and Gershwin, who authored the famous musical, Porgy and Bess, and its signature song, “Summertime,” this author has been busy.


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 […]


What To Do About Blight? Virginia Localities’ Blight Toolbox

Looks like blight. Or is it? And what can a locality do about it? One of the problem issues for Virginia local governments and their officials and employees across the state is how to deal with blight. Such structures, singular or in groups, can become a large problem to a community.  Often, historic structures fall […]


Establishment of Religion or Affordable Housing Incentive? Glassman v Arlington County

After a six-year legal battle, Arlington County, Virginia may have finally prevailed in its plan to create affordable housing one block from the Clarendon Metro station.  See official County statement here.  


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.