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Commonwealth's Counties

Sale of surplus property for economic development could help counties break new ground

A proposal to give local governments a first right of refusal on state surplus property for sale, so long as the land in question is for a “bona fide economic development activity,” is making its way through the legislature.

SB 1681 (Mason) and HB 2182 (Austin) direct the Department of General Services (DGS) to notify the county administrator and any Economic Development Authority (EDA) or Industrial Development Authority (IDA) where the property is located regarding the proposed sale. The county, EDA or IDA will have up to 180 days from the date of notification to submit a proposal to DGS to use the property for a specified economic development proposal. If DGS finds that the proposal “…is viable and could benefit the Commonwealth” then sale of the property may be negotiated. If no agreement can be reached, DGS will continue under current law to sell the property through public auction, sealed bids, or through the real estate market.

Both bills passed overwhelmingly in their respective chambers and are likely to become law.

VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP

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