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 Accomack County's Efforts in Conservation

Letters and Request Accomack County violation of Dillon Rule

Accomack County, Virginia County Attorney Mark Taylor emailed us to address the position we had previously taken on the County's Chesapeake / Atlantic Preservation Overlay District [CAPOD]. Taylor wrote:

UARF - I have had a brief opportunity to read your e-mail regarding countywide application of the Bay Act. Accomack County harbors no intent or desire to violate any law.† Virginia law enables localities to adopt this law on a locality-wide basis. It is well-established that there is no partial taking in VA, and there is no apparent or envisioned instance in which the enactment would effect a complete taking. With these observations in mind, your concerns about Dillon's Rule and takings issues appear unfounded.

Mark Taylor
County Attorney

Our response to Mr. Taylor ~~

Mr. Taylor:

Thank you for writing and expressing your concerns.† Please note that UARF revised its position on the CAPOD and posted that revision in the early PM this Friday.†††That revision reads:

UARF holds the position that the ACT includes the seaside and accordingly the proposed CAPOD is not a violation of the Dillion Rule and as such is lawful.† UARF† has looked into and asked its civil rights specialist, Stephen Merrill (757-623-4200), to determine if Accomack's residents have a class action suit on the federal level and an injunction on the state level to stop the County from what some county residents say is CAPOD's violations of both federal and state law.††After a review of the ACT, the VAC and the CAPOD is appears to UARF the inclusion of the seaside is not a violation of the Dillon Rule. Violations of the Dillon Rule were found in the CAPOD where the CAPOD said its provisions would supersede Virginia law and not in the issues raised by HOV.

Our previous position was based misinformation contained in documents provided to us.† After obtaining and†reading the draft CAPOD on the County website †it became obvious that the CAPOD was in conformity with both the Code and the VAC.† Our original position pained us greatly as a great number†of our directors†are members of the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Sierra Club, etc.†and believe in the purpose of the CAPOD.††

We think the countywide application of the ACT is a good thing and needs to be done.†† That being said it is our position that the guidelines of government as passed by the legislatures from Washington, Richmond, or Accomack County must follow the Virginia and federal constitutions and the promulgations they authorize.††
The plan your Supervisors have proposed appears to follow the guidelines of the ACT and for the most part is in compliance with both the ACT and VCR.† Your local application of the ACT [written legislation] is a good piece of work†and whomever drafted it should be commended for the outstanding job he did.

One of Dillon Rule†conflicts we found was†what is referenced in paragraph†of the fourth on page four: Sec. 106-382. Conflict with other regulations.

In any case where the requirements of this article conflict with any other provision of the County Code or existing state or federal regulations, whichever imposes the more stringent restrictions shall apply.

(Ord. of 11-19-2003(3))

We have a problem with this as it seems to say that your Supervisors have the right to supersede what†the state legislature has mandated is the law of Virginia.† This would appear to†be contrary to Virginia's application of Dillon's Rule.† This being said the CAPOD is a worthy effort of Accomack County's Government.† Itís a job well done.

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