Chesterfield’s New Proffer Policy Explained, but Questions Remain

November 22, 2016

Chesterfield County’s new proffer policy was the center of discussion at the Nov. 16 meeting of the Home Building Association of Richmond. The county adopted the new policy following the Virginia General Assembly’s substantial alteration of the state’s conditional zoning or “proffer” legislation during its last session.

The changes strictly limit the type of cash proffers that may be accepted by a local government. They also require an identifiable nexus between the cash proffer and the impact it is intended to address. Localities that accept cash proffers have been grappling with how these new requirements — which took effect July 1, 2016 — should be addressed during the rezoning process.

Chesterfield’s new policy includes a maximum $9,400 cash proffer designated solely for transportation improvements. Public transportation improvements represent one of the types of improvements for which cash proffers may be given. In Chesterfield, each zoning case will now be evaluated using a trip-generation-based formula to determine anticipated impacts to the transportation network in the vicinity of the property to be rezoned. Credits against the transportation proffer may be permitted in certain circumstances, including where actual improvements are constructed. Whether cash, improvements, or a combination of the two will be preferred in any particular area of the county remains unknown. We anticipate that development proffers will continue to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

For areas identified as “infill” by the Board of Supervisors, no cash proffers will be accepted. The board is expected to identify infill areas during its Dec. 14 meeting.

Jurisdictions throughout Virginia are taking varied approaches to their treatment of cash proffers under the new statute. Therefore, the actions taken by the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors are independent of how other local governments may address the new requirements.

McGuireWoods’ land use attorneys are closely monitoring local responses to the state’s new proffer legislation. They stand ready to help development clients navigate this new world of proffers and work toward the successful approval of projects throughout the state.