A. When the Commissioner of Highways determines that any real property will be required in connection with the construction of a transportation project, or project as defined in § 33.2-1700, within a period not exceeding 12 years for the Interstate System or 10 years for any other highway system or transportation project from the time of such determination, and that it would be advantageous to the Commonwealth to acquire such real property, he may proceed to do so. The Commissioner of Highways may lease any real property so acquired to the owner from whom such real property is acquired, if requested by him, and, if not so requested, to another person upon such terms and conditions as in the judgment of the Commissioner of Highways may be in the public interest. If the transportation project contemplated, or project as defined in § 33.2-1700, has not been let to contract or construction has not commenced within a period of 20 years from the date of the acquisition of such property, and a need for the use of such property has not been determined for any alternative transportation project, then upon written demand of the owner, or his heirs or assigns, that is received (i) within 90 days from the expiration of such 20-year period or such extension as provided for in this section or (ii) within 30 days from publication of a notice of the intent of the Commissioner of Highways to dispose of such property in a newspaper of general circulation in the political subdivision in which the property is located and the Commissioner of Highways shall notify to the extent practical, the last known owner of said property by certified mail, that such property shall be reconveyed by the Commonwealth to such owner, or his heirs or assigns, upon repayment of the original purchase price, without interest. If the reconveyance is not concluded within six months from receipt by the Commissioner of Highways of a written demand, the reconveyance opportunity shall lapse. However, the 20-year limit established by this section within which the Department must let to contract or begin construction in order to avoid reconveyance shall be extended by the number of days of delay caused by litigation involving the project or by the failure of the Commonwealth to receive anticipated federal funds for such project. The 20-year limit may also be extended in those instances in which a project is included in the Six-Year Improvement Program of the Board or the Six-Year Improvement Program for secondary highways prepared by the county boards of supervisors and in which steps have been taken to move forward. No such reconveyance shall be required for rights-of-way acquired for future transportation improvements at the request of local governing bodies or for rights-of-way acquired for state construction designed to provide future additional lanes or other enhancements to existing transportation facilities.
B. If any real property acquired under this article for use in connection with a transportation project is subsequently offered for sale by the Department and such property is suitable for independent development, the Department shall offer the property for sale at fair market value to the owner from whom it was acquired before such property is offered for sale to any other person. The Commissioner of Highways shall notify, to the extent practicable, the last known owner of such property by certified mail, and the owner shall have 30 days from the date of such notice to advise the Commissioner of Highways of his interest in purchasing the property. If the purchase of the property by the owner from whom it was acquired is not concluded within six months from receipt by the Commissioner of Highways of a written notice, the purchase opportunity shall lapse. The provisions of this subsection shall apply only to property to which the provisions of subsection A do not apply.
C. Subsection B shall not apply to Department projects carried out in cooperation with the United States Army Corps of Engineers as part of a nonstructural flood control project. If property acquired by the Commonwealth under this article in connection with a project is no longer needed by the Commonwealth for such project, such property shall be conveyed to the locality in which such project is located and used in connection with the redevelopment. If such property is not used for economic development, then the property shall revert to the Commonwealth and may be used for any purposes deemed appropriate, including resale.
Code 1950, § 33-57.1; 1958, c. 345; 1964, c. 261; 1970, cc. 110, 322, § 33.1-90; 1972, c. 396; 1973, c. 430; 1983, c. 146; 1988, c. 80; 1992, c. 108; 1997, c. 93; 1998, c. 426; 2000, c. 998; 2014, c. 805.