The governing body of any county which feels appropriate urban-type services are being provided, exclusive of those services which are provided by a city but inclusive of those services provided by cooperative agreement between the county and city, in the part of the county proposed for immunity may, by ordinance passed by a recorded affirmative vote of a majority of the members thereof, petition the circuit court for the county for an order declaring some part or parts of the county immune from city-initiated annexation and from incorporation of new cities within such part or parts. The ordinance passed by the governing body of the county shall designate the area or areas for which the county desires such partial immunity. The circuit court with which the petition is filed shall notify the Supreme Court, which shall appoint a special court to hear the case as prescribed by Chapter 30 (§ 15.2-3000 et seq.) of this title.In considering the petition, the special court shall use the list of services set out in subdivision 1 of § 15.2-3209 as a guide in determining whether appropriate urban-type services are being provided in such part or parts of the county. The court shall also consider (i) whether the county has made efforts to comply with applicable state policies with respect to environmental protection, public planning, education, public transportation, housing, and other state service policies promulgated by the General Assembly; (ii) whether a community of interest exists between that part of the county for which immunity is sought and the remainder of the county that is greater than the community of interest that exists between that part of the county for which the immunity is sought and the adjoining municipality; and (iii) whether either party has arbitrarily refused to cooperate in the joint provision of services. Unless the population of a city adjoining a county which is seeking partial immunity exceeds 100,000 persons, the court shall not grant partial immunity to such county which would result in substantially foreclosing such a city from expanding its boundaries by annexation. The court may include a greater or smaller area than the area for which immunity is sought.Any city or town adjoining or within the county, or the parts proposed for immunity, shall be made parties to the action. The finding of the Commission on Local Government shall be received into evidence, and the court shall receive such additional evidence as the parties may introduce. The court may limit additional evidence to those kinds of services considered by the Commission. If, after consideration of the evidence, the court finds that the county has appropriate urban-type services, comparable to the type and level of services furnished in the city from which the county seeks immunity, within such parts of the county that are proposed for immunity and that the other conditions in this section are satisfied, the court shall enter an order declaring such part or parts of the county to be immune from city-initiated annexation and incorporation of new cities.
1979, c. 85, § 15.1-977.22:1; 1983, c. 217; 1997, c. 587.