Special Tax District

Community Development Authorities


I.          Creation of a Community Development Authority (CDA).


A.        A county must adopt an ordinance after a duly authorized public hearing electing to assume the power to consider petitions to create a CDA.  There is no longer any minimum acreage or dollar amount of improvement requirements.


B.         A CDA is initiated by a petition from at least 51% of the landowners (measured by land area or assessed value) of the land in the proposed CDA district.  The petition must set forth the boundaries of the proposed district and describe the services and facilities proposed to be undertaken, a proposed plan for providing and financing such services and facilities, and the benefits which can be expected from the provision of such services and facilities by the CDA.


C.        A public hearing is required before adoption of the creating ordinance or resolution.  Notice of a public hearing must be published once a week for three successive weeks with the hearing to be held not sooner than ten days after the last publication of notice.  Studies from recognized experts are generally needed to demonstrate that improvements to be undertaken “serve” the CDA district, thereby enabling the Board of Supervisors to make the legislative findings that the improvements are necessary to meet the increased demands on the County as a result of the improvements within the CDA district.


D.        A petitioning landowner has 30 days to withdraw his signature from the petition after the public hearing.  The petitioning landowners may waive the right to withdraw their signatures.


E.                  The ordinance or resolution creating the CDA must be filed in the land records for each tax map parcel in the district.  The CDA Articles of Incorporation must be filed with the State Corporation Commission.


F.                  Once a CDA is created, the CDA board constitutes a governing body of a separate political subdivision, and has the discretion to act within the powers granted to it in the ordinance establishing the CDA, and neither the County nor the developer can compel the CDA to act in any specific manner to carry out the purposes of the CDA.  The County, prior to creating the CDA, must consider what procedural prerequisites (e.g., require the CDA to obtain the consent of the County prior to the issuance of any debt) or other restrictions it may wish to impose on the CDA, and incorporate those into the ordinance or resolution creating the CDA or in separate binding agreements.


II.        Powers of a CDA.


A.        A CDA has the powers of water and waste authorities under Article 3 of the Water and Waste Authorities Act (Virginia Code Sections 15.2-5110 – 15.1-5124); including, the power to issue revenue bonds, power of eminent domain, and the power to fix, charge and collect rates, fees and charges for services furnished by or for the benefit from any system operated by the CDA.

B.         A CDA can finance, fund, establish, acquire, construct, equip, operate and maintain infrastructure improvements enumerated in the ordinance or resolution establishing the district, as necessary to meet the increased demands placed upon the locality as a result of development within the district, including, but not limited to:


1.         roads, bridges, parking facilities, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, traffic signals, storm water management and retention systems, gas and electric lines, street lights within or serving the district which meet or exceed the specifications of the locality in which the roads are located;


2.         parks and facilities for indoor and outdoor recreational, cultural and educational uses, entrance areas, security facilities, fencing and landscaping throughout the district;


3.         fire prevention systems, rescue vehicles and other vehicles and equipment;


4.         school buildings and related structures, when authorized by the locality and the school board; and


5.         infrastructure and recreational facilities for age-restricted active adult communities with a minimum population of 1,000 residents.


C.        A CDA may issue revenue bonds, subject to such restrictions as may be established in the resolution or ordinance establishing the CDA, for all costs associated with the improvements described above.  Bonds of the CDA are payable solely from revenues of the CDA. 


D.        A CDA must request annually that the locality levy and collect a special tax on taxable real property within the district.  The tax is limited to $0.25 per $100 of assessed value unless all the landowners in the district request a greater tax.  The tax can be used to fund infrastructure improvements and services both within and outside the CDA district so long as those improvements located outside the CDA district are determined to “serve” the CDA district.


E.         A CDA may provide special services including, garbage and trash removal and disposal, street cleaning, snow removal, extra security personnel and equipment, recreational management and grounds keeping.


III.       Application to Hollymead Town Center and Albemarle Place


A.        There is no legal impediment to the creation of a CDA to finance transportation improvements needed to accommodate increased traffic generated in part by each proposed development, provided that the petition is properly submitted and the requisite statutory procedures are followed to create a CDA.


B.         The CDA statute specifically provides that a CDA may provide roads, bridges, and other such improvements within or serving a CDA district.

C.        It may be more practical to create one CDA for Albemarle Place and a separate CDA for the Hollymead Town Center, but it is theoretically possible to consolidate both developments into one single CDA district. It is also theoretically possible to include only non-residential properties in the CDA’s. However, there are impediments to either approach.


1.         The single-most significant impediment is that a CDA district must consist of property in a single tract of land in which at least 51% of the landowners join in the petition for its creation.


2.                  All property (other than public property) in a special tax CDA district must be equally taxed.


3.                  There is difficulty in drawing the CDA district lines so as to exclude certain types of classes of property (e.g., residential) and still maintain contiguity inherent in a single tract of land.


4.                  It is possible that the use of property could change from non-residential to residential after the creation of the CDA.  It would be difficult to remove such properties from the CDA.


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