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Official Opinions

 

December 2010 Opinions
Please click on Opinion number to view entire opinion.

Official opinions will be posted as they are issued, generally within 24 to 48 hours. Please check this page at regular intervals to determine whether additional opinions have been issued.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Official opinions represent the attorney general’s analysis of current law based on his thorough research of existing statutes, the Virginia and United States constitutions, and relevant court decisions.  Official opinions do not create new law, nor do they change existing law.  Creating and amending laws are the responsibility of the General Assembly, not the attorney general.  

Official opinions are legal advice, not personal opinions, and do not reflect the attorney general’s personal views about what the law should be.  Such advice is provided to ensure clients/the requester are in compliance with the law.  While the opinions may be given deference by the courts, they are not binding on the courts.

The official opinions issued by the attorney general are part of the duties of the office (see Code § 2.2-505).  A person authorized by statute, such as the governor, a member of the General Assembly, a constitutional officer, or the head of a state agency, can ask the attorney general for an official opinion on the law. Members of the general public are not authorized to ask for opinions.

 

Opinion
#
Requestor Summary
10-094 The Honorable Deborah F. Williams
Commissioner of the Revenue
Spotsylvania County
A county commissioner of the revenue's "certification" of a correction of a local tax assessment for purposes of § 58.1-3981(A) means that the commissioner should provide written verification that he has determined that the original local tax assessment paid by the affected taxpayer was erroneous. Further, § 58.1-3(A)(2) authorizes a county commissioner of the revenue to supply to the attorney for his county any information that is necessary to enable the attorney to make an informed decision as to whether to consent to the commissioner of the revenue's determination. Finally, a county attorney's consent to a reduction of a real estate tax assessment by a county board of equalization is not a prerequisite to the county's issuance of a refund of excess taxes.
10-042 The Honorable Thomas A. Hazelwood
Commissioner of the Revenue
City of Suffolk
In the City of Suffolk, the devolution of the Commissioner of the Revenue's duties with respect to the assessment of real estate to a city real estate assessor transfers to the assessor the Commissioner's responsibility under § 58.l-3984(B) to the extent § 58.1-3984(B) applies to assessments of real property.
10-076 C. Eric Young, Esquire
Tazewell County Attorney
A County is not required to enforce the Property Maintenance Code portion of the Uniform Statewide Building Code in a town with a population of less than 3,500, where the town has adopted the Property Maintenance Code but has not appointed, nor contracted with, an official to enforce the Uniform Statewide Building Code.
10-118 The Honorable Terry G. Kilgore
Member, House of Delegates
A school board is solely responsible for the decision whether and how to consolidate schools, and a county board of supervisors may not instruct the school board to consolidate schools or how to consolidate schools.
10-103 Ms. Karen A. Gould, Executive Director
Virginia State Bar
Conduct permitted under the proposed amendment to lawyer referral rules would violate the statute because the amendment would implicate both the person working for the lawyer under § 54.1-3939 and the lawyer if he engages in reciprocal referrals with another lawyer, which would make them both runners and cappers under § 54.1-3941.
10-061 The Honorable Stephen H. Martin
Member, Senate of Virginia

A Virginia locality cannot require an owner to obtain a special exception to a local zoning ordinance in order to install an alternative onsite sewage system if the conditions set forth in § 15.2-2157(C) exist, namely that (i) there is no sewer or sewerage disposal facility available and (ii) the alternative onsite sewage system has been approved by the Virginia Department of Health for use in the particular circumstances and conditions in which the proposed system is to be operating.

10-053 Michael M. Collins, County Attorney, Bath County The enactment by the Board of Supervisors of a meals tax ordinance with a rate of 1% after voters of that county gave their approval to a meals tax by a referendum vote is a valid exercise of the statutory authority granted to the Board of Supervisors to levy a meals tax in an amount and on such terms as that governing body may by ordinance prescribe.
10-093 Scott E. Parsons, Executive Director, Virginia Small Business Financing Authority The VSBFA is authorized to refinance bonds or other obligations previously issued by another authority, public body or political subdivision, including an industrial development authority.
10-091 David Paylor, Director, Dep’t of Environmental Quality Virginia localities do not have the authority to extend the application of their land use ordinances to state-owned submerged lands; and that therefore, for small renewable energy projects located on or in the waters above state-owned bottomland, there are no “applicable land use ordinances” for purposes of the certification requirement of § 10.1-1197.6(B)(2). Because DEQ is directed to assess whether a submitted application meets the requirements of “the applicable permit by rule regulations,” DEQ may treat the certification requirement of § 10.1-1197.6(B)(2) as inapplicable in this circumstance and may authorize a project if the agency determines that the project applicant has met all other applicable requirements.