A. The Counties of Hanover, Loudoun, Montgomery, Prince William, and Roanoke, and the Town of Leesburg, may establish, by ordinance, a separate processing procedure for the review of preliminary and final subdivision and site plans and other development plans certified by licensed professional engineers, licensed architects, licensed land surveyors, and landscape architects who are also licensed pursuant to § 54.1-408 and recommended for submission by persons who have received special training in the locality’s land development ordinances and regulations. The purpose of the separate review procedure is to provide a procedure to expedite the locality’s review of certain qualified land development plans. If a separate procedure is established, the locality shall establish within the adopted ordinance the criteria for qualification of persons and whose work is eligible to use the separate procedure as well as a procedure for determining if the qualifications are met by persons applying to use the separate procedure. Persons who satisfy the criteria of subsection B below shall qualify as plans examiners. Plans reviewed and recommended for submission by plans examiners and certified by the appropriately licensed professional engineer, licensed architect, licensed land surveyor, or landscape architect shall qualify for the separate processing procedure.
1. A bachelor of science degree in engineering, architecture, landscape architecture or related science or equivalent experience or a licensed land surveyor pursuant to § 54.1-408.
C. If an expedited review procedure is adopted by the board of supervisors or town council pursuant to the authority granted by this section, the board of supervisors or town council shall establish an advisory plans examiner board, which shall make recommendations to the board of supervisors or town council on the general operation of the program, on the general qualifications of those who may participate in the expedited processing procedure, on initial and continuing educational programs needed to qualify and maintain qualification for such a program and on the general administration and operation of the program. In addition, the plans examiner board shall submit recommendations to the board of supervisors or town council as to those persons who meet the established qualifications for participation in the program, and the plans examiner board shall submit recommendations as to whether those persons who have previously qualified to participate in the program should be disqualified, suspended or otherwise disciplined. The plans examiner board shall consist of six members who shall be appointed by the board of supervisors or town council for staggered four-year terms. Initial terms may be less than four years so as to provide for staggered terms. The plans examiner board shall consist of three persons in private practice as licensed professional engineers or licensed land surveyors pursuant to § 54.1-408, at least one of whom shall be a licensed land surveyor; one person employed by the government of the locality; one person employed by the Virginia Department of Transportation who shall serve as a nonvoting advisory member; and one citizen member. All members of the board who serve as licensed engineers or as licensed surveyors must maintain their professional license as a condition of holding office and shall have at least two years of experience in land development procedures of the locality. The citizen member of the board shall meet the qualifications provided in § 54.1-107 and, notwithstanding the proscription of clause (i) of § 54.1-107, shall have training as an engineer or surveyor and may be currently licensed or practicing his profession.
D. The expedited land development program shall include an educational program conducted under the auspices of a state institution of higher education. The instructors in the educational program shall consist of persons in the private and public sectors who are qualified to prepare land development plans. The educational program shall include the comprehensive and detailed study of local ordinances and regulations relating to plans and how they are applied.
E. The separate processing system may include a review of selected or random aspects of plans rather than a detailed review of all aspects; however, it shall also include a periodic detailed review of plans prepared by persons who qualify for the system.
F. In no event shall this section relieve persons who prepare and submit plans of the responsibilities and obligations that they would otherwise have with regard to the preparation of plans, nor shall it relieve the locality of its obligation to review other plans in the time periods and manner prescribed by law.
1991, c. 444, § 15.1-501.1; 1997, c. 587; 2007, c. 813; 2009, cc. 214, 309, 518.