During its July 5, 2023, meeting, the Loudoun Board of Supervisors approved an update to its Rules of Order, which changes the notice requirements related to approval of land use applications and amendments to county ordinances. The update is necessary due to changes to the Code of Virginia [§ 15.2-1427(F) and 15.2-2204(A)] that were adopted by the Virginia General Assembly and became effective July 1.
State Code Changes
The changes in the state code require that notice of ordinance amendments or land use applications be published no more than 14 days before the intended passage or adoption of such items. As a practical matter, this means the Board of Supervisors must either take a final vote on agenda items for ordinances and land use applications immediately following the required public hearing or advertise the item for another public hearing at which time action may be taken. Advertisement of such public hearing items must be published no more than 14 days prior to the planned vote in two consecutive weeks.
Board’s Rules of Order Changes
The changes to the Rules of Order are intended to result in the least impact to the Board’s current process. Currently, the Board cannot vote on a public hearing agenda item that is not on its consolidated agenda unless the Board first votes to suspend its rules.
The consolidated agenda includes items for which there are no objections. If speakers sign up for an item in advance, the item is removed from the consolidated agenda to allow for public input on the item during the public hearing.
The Board’s adopted changes to its Rules of Order now require any item appearing on a public hearing agenda for the first time to be sent to a subsequent public hearing for approval, unless the Board suspends the rules and votes.
Alternately, the Board could send an item to a committee for further discussion; however, to comply with the amended notice requirements under state law, the item will go back to a public hearing for final action. The item could appear on the consolidated agenda of that second hearing if all outstanding issues have been resolved, no speakers sign-up in advance, and no supervisor objects.
Public Hearing Notices and Documents
To comply with the updated state code, Loudoun County will advertise ordinance amendments or land use applications no more than 14 days before the intended passage or adoption of such items in a local newspaper of record.
Additionally, all of the Board of Supervisors public meetings and meeting documents are posted on the county’s website at least three days prior to a meeting in accordance with Virginia law. The Board’s meeting schedule is posted at loudoun.gov/calendar and the Board’s meeting documents are posted at loudoun.gov/bosdocuments.
The same impacts stemming from the changes in state code also will impact the public notice schedules for the Loudoun County Planning Commission. The Planning Commission is currently updating its bylaws to implement the required changes. The Planning Commission’s meeting schedule is also posted at loudoun.gov/calendar and its meeting documents are posted at loudoun.gov/pc.
To learn more about the recent change in the Board of Supervisors’ Rules of Order, including the changes to the Code of Virginia and to review the text edits, read the July 5, 2023 staff report, Proposed Amendments to the Board of Supervisors Rules of Order – Hearing of New Items and Returning Items Ready for Action (PDF).
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