The Virginia state Senate postponed a vote Monday on a bill aimed at restricting what extra amenities local governments can demand from homebuilders to mitigate the impacts of those projects.
The reforms to the state’s so-called proffer system have generated controversy, with local officials in Northern Virginia arguing that the legislation would weaken their ability to mitigate the impact of new developments by requiring developers to add new roads or a school.
The Senate bill requires that proffers be limited to offsetting impacts that are directly attributable to new residential developments or new uses for existing developments. Under the bill, local governments can also require developers to offset the impact to off-site public facilities — such as a sewer system — but only if that builder’s new development also benefits from the improvement.
The legislation does not apply to high-density areas, commercial developments or neighborhoods near Metrorail stations.
Several local governments are lobbying for additional exceptions.
Fairfax County wants the reforms to exclude some lower-density neighborhoods. Fairfax also argues that the bill should make it harder for developers who refused to abide by a proffer request to sue local governments if their projects are rejected.
“Frankly, we would just like to see the bill withdrawn entirely,” said Sharon Bulova, chair of Fairfax County’s board of supervisors. “But if a bill is going to pass, we let members of the Senate know what our concerns are and how we’d like to see it amended.”
The bill — co-sponsored by Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (R-Rockingham) and Sen. Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax) — is scheduled to be addressed again Tuesday.
A House version of the bill passed 68 to 27 last week.