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A Call To Action: House Bill No. 824

The citizens of Lexington have recently spent many hours in public meetings providing input to their Planning Commission and City Council representatives on the city’s new Zoning Ordinance. This process is critical to effective local government decision making and land use regulation (as set forth in the Code of Virginia, Chapter 15.2).  A bill has been introduced in the General Assembly (House Bill No. 824) by Delegate Knight (Chesapeake), backed by the Virginia Association of Realtors, to take away the city’s authority to regulate our own zoning and revenue process related to our transient occupancy policy. The policies in place reflect long and serious consideration of the hours of input by citizen commentators on all sides of the issues. This bill reflects an unwelcomed trend by which special interest concerns attempt to overrule local control of issues which directly affect the quality of life for our citizens. 

Please contact your state legislators to express your opinion on this bill with following points in mind:

  • The bill is special interest legislation from a delegate with no connection to Lexington.
  • The bill is currently focused on Lexington, but the aim of the bill is to erode the local decision-making process statewide. It is possible that before it is passed, the bill will be amended and focus on the issue of short-term rentals statewide, affecting all localities.
  • The bill is contrary to Code of Virginia chapter 15.2’s local land use authority, expressly given to local governments by the state.
  • The bill sets a dangerous precedent of removing local land use controls (other bills focusing on solar and broadband also propose to remove local control).

Virginia’s local land use authority has been under repeated attack in recent years by special interests, but those interests have now put Lexington, and the decisions of its local government, front and center in an effort to remove the city’s ability to regulate short-term rentals according to the discretion of local legislative authority. Read the proposed bill here.

The bill has been assigned to the Committee on General Laws chaired by Delegate Christopher Peace (R, Hanover, King William and New Kent County).  Other Delegates on the committee are: Gilbert (Vice Chair), Wright, Knight, Helsel, Hodges, Bell, Richard P, Leftwich, Morefield, Davis, Fowler, Miyares, Ward, Bulova, Carr, Torian, McQuinn, Aird, Murphy, Price, Jones J.C.).   

How to contact your legislators:
Simply call or email each legislator using the contact information provided and let them know you are a citizen of Lexington, followed by your opinion on HB824.

Senator R. Creigh Deeds: (804) 698-7525; district25@senate.virginia.gov

Delegate Benjamin L. Cline: (804) 698-1024; DelBCline@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Christopher K. Peace: (804) 698-1097; DelCPeace@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Barry D. Knight: (804) 698-1081; DelBKnight@house.virginia.gov

Thank you for your contributions to our community and for your attention to this important matter.