§ 15.2-3907

Hearing and decision by court

A. The special court shall order an election to determine if the voters of the county desire the General Assembly to grant the county a municipal charter if, after hearing the evidence, it finds that:

1. The county possesses at the time of the filing of the petition a minimum population of 20,000 persons and a density of population of at least 300 persons per square mile, or a minimum population of 50,000 persons and a density of population of at least 140 persons per square mile, based either on the latest United States census, on the latest estimates of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service of the University of Virginia, or on a special census conducted under court supervision; and

2. The county has the fiscal capacity to function as an independent city and to provide appropriate services; and

3. After a consideration of the best interests of the parties, the interest of the Commonwealth in the county’s compliance with and promotion of applicable State policies with respect to environmental protection, public planning, education, public transportation, housing and other State service policies declared by the General Assembly, and the interest of the Commonwealth in promoting strong and viable units of government in the area, the county is eligible for city status.

B. An election held pursuant to this section shall comply with §§ 24.2-682 and 24.2-684. The order for election shall allow sufficient time for the preparation of a charter as hereafter provided for in this chapter. Such election shall be held no earlier than 180 days and no later than 300 days subsequent to the entry of the order of election.

C. The court shall be limited in its decision to granting or denying eligibility for city status and shall have no authority to impose terms or conditions with respect to such eligibility.

D. If a majority of the court is of the opinion that the criteria set out in subsection A have not been met, then eligibility for city status shall be denied.

E. The court shall render a written opinion in every case brought under the provisions of this chapter.


1979, c. 85, § 15.1-977.9; 1997, c. 587.


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