Leesburg Council Initiates Proffer Policy Changes

The Town Council last week initiated a series of changes to town land development regulations to prepare for the impact of a new state proffer statute that took effect July 1.

The package will now go to the Planning Commission for review. Proposed changes include updates to the Zoning Ordinance; beginning work on changes to the Town Plan; and the repeal of current proffer guidelines.

Last week’s vote also imposes an interim policy on proffers until the new changes can be formally endorsed. This interim policy mandates that no new proffers will be accepted with residential rezoning applications until the town staff has completed, and the council has adopted, the changes. Staff review of proffer changes, and the ensuing legislative review process, is expected to take at least six months.

The new state proffer statute will allow applicants for rezoning applications to challenge the reasonableness of a proffer even if it was voluntarily submitted. Any on-site proffers submitted by rezoning applicants now have to be “specifically attributable” to resolve the impacts generated by a new development on surrounding facilities, such as schools, parks, and public safety. There are even further stipulations for off-site proffers, as well as cash proffers, including that a development must receive a “direct and material benefit” from any proposed proffer, including funds given to relieve the stress on area schools or public safety facilities.

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