Bill mandating localities develop plans for transit-oriented development moves forward to next stop

January 23, 2020

HB 585 (Guzman), which requires transit-oriented development (TOD) in comprehensive plans, passed in House Counties, Cities and Towns Committee’s Land Use Subcommittee on a 4 to 3 vote. TOD is a type of urban development that maximizes the amount of residential, commercial and public space within walking distance of public transportation, typically in the form of light rail or bus rapid transit (BRT). The bill was amended in subcommittee to limit the requirement to cities with a population of more than 20,000, and counties with more than 100,000.

Specifically, the bill requires such localities to “…incorporate into the next scheduled and all subsequent reviews of its comprehensive plan strategies to promote transit-oriented development for the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through coordinated transportation, housing, and land use planning.”

VACo spoke in opposition to the mandate citing the potential fiscal impact to Counties that meet the population threshold criteria. Additionally, Counties are already required to address transportation and housing in their comprehensive plans. This additional requirement for a locality not seeking to develop a TOD plan will add unnecessary costs and time delays.

The bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Counties, Cities and Towns Committee on Friday, January 24, at 9 am.

VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP

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