The economic development pipeline continues to move despite challenges arising from the coronavirus pandemic. Hirschler’s land use practice group continues to work with local governments on conducting public meetings in this environment and securing approvals.
The local governments in the Rappahannock region have resumed public hearings either virtually, in person or both. In addition, our region’s localities have modified their plans review process. Many anticipate that, long-term, the process modifications may lead to greater efficiency in the plans review process.
Below is an overview of how regional localities are handling public hearings and plans review:
Public Hearings: Stafford County has not resumed public meetings yet. The County has started working on its June calendar in anticipation of recommencing public hearings the second week of June.
Plan Review: Plan review has continued with electronic and mail submissions. For Rezoning and CUP applications, WebEx video calls are being scheduled for pre-application meeting requirements. Development Review Meetings for land use cases and TRC for by-right applications are not being conducted at this time; instead all application information is shared electronically between reviewers. Once all comments are received, the project manager contacts the applicant.
Taxes: The Treasurer’s office is open and receiving payments. On May 5, the Board will decide whether the county will waive penalties for late payments.
Public Hearings: Public Hearings will resume on April 28. The Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors are asking the public to submit their comments in writing ahead of time to avoid unnecessary crowds. All comments will be read at the hearing.
Plan Review: Spotsylvania County is accepting new applications, and plan review has continued through electronic, mail and drop-box submission. Pre-Application and TRC meetings are taking place through WebEx. Modified Community Meetings have been approved by County officials and Hirschler is working on a virtual alternative to accommodate both clients and the community in meeting this requirement.
Taxes: Real Estate payments are due June 5, and penalties have not been lifted.
City of Fredericksburg
Public Hearings: The Planning Commission and City Council are only holding work sessions at this time and plan to resume hearings in June.
Plan Review: The City of Fredericksburg is accepting new applications through coordinated drop off and a drop-box. Subsequent reviews are being conducted over email. April 23 will be the first virtual TRC meeting will be held April 23 and the next scheduled meeting is May 14. Timeframes are generally on scheduled, but minor delays are expected for intake and processing due to staff reductions and heavy application volume.
Taxes: Real Estate payments are still due, and to date, penalties have not been lifted. Convenience Fees have been lifted for online credit card payments, and eCheck is continuing as a free service.
Public Hearings: Currently, Caroline County is not holding any public hearings and will not resume hearings until the Governor’s Orders are lifted.
Plan Review: Caroline County is still accepting application, and plan review has continued through electronic, mail, and drop-box submission. Pre-Application meetings are being held over the phone. TRC is still being handled internally, and all comments are sent to the applicant.
Taxes: Real Estate taxes and penalties were discussed at the April 14t Board of Supervisors meeting. A public hearing will be held May 5 to discuss the possibility of waiving interest until August 15. As of April 22, all Real Estate Taxes are due June 15. If taxes are not paid as of June 15, interest will accrue until July 15. If taxes are not paid by July 15, interest and other penalties will accrue until August 15.
King George County
Public Hearings: Currently, King George County is not holding public hearings and will not resume hearings until the Governor’s Orders are lifted.
Plan Review: King George County is accepting new applications through electronic and mail submission. Pre-Application meetings are being held over the phone.TRC is being handled internally, and all comments are sent to the applicant.
Taxes: Currently all Real Estate taxes are due June 5 with regular penalties in place for late payments.
For additional insight on these protocols or to discuss your project, contact any member of the Hirschler team.
Myrna H. Rooks