Applicants and local governments continue to grapple with the best way to apply the proffer legislation revisions enacted in 2016 by the Virginia General Assembly. In a recent meeting of the Local Government Attorneys of Virginia, a number of local government attorneys indicated that, in an effort to fend off potential litigation, they have advised their respective clients not to request, require or even suggest that applicants submit any proffered zoning condition.
As a result, in a number of localities, the traditional give and take of developing proffered zoning conditions to address the impacts of a particular development is no longer standard. Instead, applicants are offering proffered zoning conditions without benefit of prior feedback from local planning department staff members, planning commissioners or elected officials.
A few localities have also suggested that applicants include with their proffer statements an affirmative statement that the proffers submitted by the applicant are reasonable under the proffer statute. Chesterfield County is the latest locality to make such a suggestion. A significant number of cash proffer amendment cases pending before the Chesterfield County Planning Commission are scheduled for public hearing over the next three months. Just recently, the county suggested to applicants pending for hearing this month that they sign a statement confirming the “reasonableness” of the applicant’s proffered zoning conditions. Staff has indicated they will not support the application if the statement is not signed.