Virginia State Code Changes Impact Public Hearing Timing

July 11, 2023

Changes are coming to Fairfax and Loudoun counties’ public hearing processes after state-level changes to notice requirements became effective on July 1, 2023.

The changes impact land use cases when the planning commission or governing body defers its decision from the originally scheduled public hearing. These “deferrals for decision” are commonplace in many northern Virginia jurisdictions, including Fairfax and Loudoun counties. Deferred decisions now require re-advertisement, additional mailed notice and a second public hearing with full public comment.

The changes are included in revisions to Section 15.2-2204. Prior to July 2, 2023, Section 15.2-2204 required newspaper publication of a notice for two consecutive weeks prior to a public hearing. Among other things, the revisions require the publication within 14 days of the date of the intended action by the planning commission or governing body. Under prior provisions, deferrals could be as little as one week after the initial public hearing.

The new Virginia State Code requirements will increase the timeline to complete the administrative notice requirements and delay the timing for additional public hearings.