The General Assembly convened on January 12th and we are following many pieces of legislation. HB 1721 is one that has dire consequences for us. Currently, 67 localities in Virginia are mandated to build Urban Development Areas.
HB1721, introduced by Delegate Bob Marshall, would make Urban Development Areas optional rather than mandatory.
The bill was recommended to report (passed by a majority of yea votes) by the House Counties, Cities and Towns Sub-committee #2 by a vote of 7-4 on January 20th, but was stalled on January 21st by the full committee at the request of Speaker Howell. It must pass this full committee and then go to the House Floor for a full vote. If it passes there, it then goes to the Senate on February 8th, Cross-Over Day, to begin the process there. This is going to be a long battle.
WHAT WE’RE UP AGAINST
This bill is being attacked by heavy weights like the Home Builders Association, Southern Environmental Law Center, and the Sierra Club, and the League of Conservation Voters.
Members of the Home Builders Association stand to gain a great benefit from the construction of UDAs. Not only can they build up to twelve homes on a single acre of land that they can purchase very inexpensively, but they get tax breaks for the new urbanism, green building, and green energy efficiency practices used in the construction of these high-density communities.
Organizations like the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Sierra Club are heavily funded by other international organizations like ICLEI and benefit greatly by defeating the bill.
The reality, folks, is if we don’t get this bill passed, 67 local governments in Virginia will have no choice but to approve the comprehensive plans in EVERY locality in Virginia because UDAs are MANDATED.
What that means is we will have little chance of stopping the implementation of Agenda 21.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
WE NEED ALL HANDS ON DECK NOW if we are to be successful! We must show them who the real heavy weights are.
We strongly urge you to:
• Contact every member of the House Counties, Cities and Towns Committee to urge them to vote in support of the bill.
• Contact Speaker Bill Howell (R) Phone: (804) 698-1028 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him to support this bill.
• Contact YOUR representatives to let them know you support this bill.
• We urge citizens from EVERY locality of the Commonwealth to be representatives of their community at the next committee meeting on HB1721. The regularly scheduled meetings will be January 28th and February 4th. Please plan to be there January 28th! We recommend calling the GA the day before to find out if the meeting is scheduled and the bill is on the agenda. Call 804-698-1540 or 804-698-1500 for this information. The scheduled meeting room is House Room D, but this could also change! Our legislators have already shown that they not above moving committee meetings to different days or times or locations.
We are in the fight of our lives to defend private property rights. It is up to each and every one of us to do all we can to get HB1721 passed out of this committee and on to the floor for a vote.
OUR REASONS FOR SUPPORTING THIS BILL
Please feel free to use the talking points provided to help draft your reasons for supporting HB1721.
This is not a right or left, conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat issue. It is a right or wrong issue.
HB1721 is about allowing localities to have choices about whether the market in those localities can bear more development in a soft market when foreclosures rates are so high and 1 in every 501 homes in Virginia is in foreclosure.
HB1721 is about allowing localities to decide if UDAs are appropriate for their community.
HB1721 is about putting decisions on how growth is to be managed back in the hands of the communities where it belongs.
HB1721 will stop localities from being forced to replace low cost housing in communities targeted for smart growth with high priced housing that will drive the elderly on fixed incomes and low-income families out of their homes.
HB1721 will stop localities from being forced to impose very restrictive energy and water regulations that will result in the rationing of resources.
HB1721 is about protecting the individual right to own and control the use of one’s own property in Virginia.
Please act now! The future of our children, grandchildren, and beyond is on the line.