Virginia Supreme Court Opinions NOT Affecting Local Government Law: June 5, 2014

By: Andrew McRoberts.

The Virginia Supreme Court issued opinions this morning.  After last term’s virtual feast of seven opinions significantly affecting Virginia Local Government Law, this term had none (at least not in this author’s judgment).  Unless you are interested in wrongful death, labor relations or criminal law, read no further. If you want to double-check my judgment, [...]


Town of Greece v. Galloway: U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Law on Legislative Prayer and the Establishment Clause

By: Cullen Seltzer.

Co-Authored by Cullen D. Seltzer and Andrew R. McRoberts. Today, the Court handed down its ruling in Town of Greece.  In a sweeping ruling, the Court upheld the local government’s religious invocations in a 5-4 decision.  The ruling pretty dramatically and explicitly broadens the scope of permissible religious invocations for legislative sessions. Virginia Locality Law Blog [...]


Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law: April 17, 2014

By: Andrew McRoberts.

The Virginia Supreme Court issued opinions this morning.  After last term issuing no opinions significantly affecting Virginia Local Government Law (at least not in this author’s judgment), this term’s opinions are a virtual feast.  Issues involving BZA discretion, nonconforming signs, FOIA, Fraud Against Taxpayer’s Act and more.  Some are cases involving Virginia local governments, others [...]


Nervous Time for Localities: The General Assembly Is In Session

By: Andrew McRoberts.

It happens in January, every year.  The General Assembly convenes and considers all manner of bills that localities support or oppose.  And localities get nervous.  More nervous than most Assembly-watchers, I say. Why would that be? While the General Assembly adopts legislation every year that affects Virginians, arguably it has more of an effect on [...]


Moody’s Revises Rating Criteria for Local Governments

By: Jesse Bausch.

On January 15 of this year, Moody’s announced a revised methodology for its evaluation of local government general obligation credits. Moody’s overall methodology is to evaluate each locality seeking/maintaining a rating over four categories: (1) economy/tax base of the area, (2) finances of the locality (fund balance), (3) management of the locality and (4) debt/pensions. [...]


Caution: Payments to Volunteers Can Lead to Trouble

By: Phyllis Katz.

Nonprofit organizations and governmental entities are permitted to use volunteer labor.  In many instances, the work performed mirrors that performed by paid staff.  Employers may want to recognize the time and efforts of the volunteers through cash payments.  There is much danger in providing such financial rewards in that you may convert the volunteer into [...]


Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law January 10, 2014

By: Andrew McRoberts.

The Virginia Supreme Court issued new opinions this morning, some of which affect local government law.  Here they are (summaries taken from the Virginia Supreme Court website, click on the Record Number to read opinion): 130210 Board of Supervisors v. Windmill Meadows, LLC 01/10/2014 In interpreting provisions relating to per-unit cash proffers in certain zoning proceedings [...]


Standard for a BZA to Grant a Variance Little Different Than Expressed In Cochran: Martin v. City of Alexandria

By: Andrew McRoberts.

When the Virginia Supreme Court issued the opinion in Martin v. City of Alexandria on June 7, 2013, it gave some guidance regarding the current legal standard for a Board of Zoning Appeals to grant a variance.  This helped a great deal. Local governments attorneys, Boards of Zoning Appeals and landowners have debated for several [...]


The “ABCs” of Vested Rights in Zoning

By: Andrew McRoberts.

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 [...]


In Virginia Attorney General Race, Every Vote Counts

By: Andrew McRoberts.

On election night 2013, as I stood watching election returns, an Australian gentlemen visiting America asked me what percentage of Virginians were voting that day. I paused to think.  First, I recited the percentage of registered voters that typically vote in a Virginia election, 40%, give or take.  Then, I considered what percentage of the [...]