AGENDA TITLE: ZTA 2004-00010 Public Hearing to Amend the Zoning Ordinance Relating to Civil Penalties
SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST: Amend Zoning Ordinance § 37.2 to increase the civil penalties for zoning violations as allowed by Virginia Code § 15.2-2209
Louise Wyatt, Greg Kamptner
Planning Commission: February 15, 2005
Board of Supervisors: March 16, 2005
REVIEWED BY: GK, AGM
Use of civil penalties for certain zoning violations has been an effective enforcement tool as both a deterrent and as a consequence for noncompliance in numerous zoning cases. The Zoning Ordinance currently imposes civil penalties of $50 and $100 for the first violation (depending on the nature of the violation) and $150 for each subsequent violation, and imposes a cap of $3,000 total civil penalties for each violation. A recent revision to the Virginia Code now allows for higher civil penalties for subsequent violations, as well as a higher civil penalties cap.
PUBLIC PURPOSE TO BE SERVED:
Staff recommends that this revision to the Zoning Ordinance will improve the County’s ability to address zoning violations and therefore its ability to continue to work as stewards of Albemarle County’s natural resources and built environment.
Over the past three years, the County has had an annual average of 339 zoning enforcement cases. Many of these cases require use of civil penalties before the violation is abated. Currently, the County is pursuing civil penalties in 28% of unresolved violation cases. Additionally, several long-term cases have approached the current ceiling amount without abatement of the violation. Consistent with current state law, the proposed ordinance would increase the civil penalties for each subsequent violation from $150 to $250, and increase the civil penalties cap from $3,000 to $5,000. Civil penalties for first violations will remain at $50 and $100; state law still limits civil penalties for first violations to $100 or less. Raising both the civil penalties for subsequent violations and the civil penalties cap will assist the County in addressing violations.
Staff will address the three (3) criteria which the Board has previously asked staff to discuss with zoning text amendments.
Administration/Review Process: The proposed amendment will allow the County to pursue warrants in debt seeking increased civil penalties with a higher civil penalties cap. There really is no measurable impact on administration and no impact on the review process.
Housing Affordability: The proposed amendment will not affect housing affordability.
Implications to Staffing/Staffing Costs: The proposed amendment has the potential to reduce staff workload if it results in more timely abatement of zoning violations. Increased civil penalties should not increase the workload and will come closer to covering staff costs for enforcement.
Staff hereby recommends adoption of the draft ordinance found in Attachment B.
A Resolution of Intent
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