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Wetlands violations risky, and expensive

Wetlands may be hard to spot -- and disturbing them without obtaining the required permits can be very expensive.

Kurt Lorenz found that out the hard way after he bought 22 acres of vacant land in southern Chesapeake. He didn't know that the property contained wetlands, and started work on a horse barn. Today, he faces a $22,750 fine from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, plus a $50,000 expense to restore the disturbed wetlands.

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Fairfax County's I-495 HOT lanes to open in December 2012

Ground has been broken on a HOT lanes operations center near Edsall Road, kicking off the construction project that will eventually result in High Occupancy Toll lanes on I-495. Drivers with two or more passengers will be able to use the High Occupancy Toll lanes for free. Vehicles carrying just one or two people can also use the lanes, for a fee.

"With this more reliable travel time, the Beltway will soon become a viable option for buses and HOV travelers searching for a better commute," said Thelma Drake, director, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

Virginia to improve public/private partnerships in road construction

In an effort to improve Virginia's roads, Governor Bob McDonnell is looking to encourage greater cooperation between the state government and private construction companies. One possibility: establishing an office that would identify and consider privately initiated transportation projects.

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New lead paint rules went into effect April 22

Editor's note: This story was originally posted on March 25, 2010. We're re-publishing it due to reports of a large number of members being unfamiliar with the new rules.

According to NAR, new EPA rules about lead paint are set to go into effect on April 22, 2010.

To help you comply with the new rules, your friends at NAR have set up a Lead Paint Renovation Rule Compliance Guide at REALTOR.org.

Fredericksburg, Kalahari Resorts compromise on bond fees

The Fredericksburg Economic Development Authority and Kalahari Resorts have reached a compromise on bond fees. The agreement calls for a fee on Kalahari's taxable bonds in exchange for the company agreeing to pay the standard fee on the tax-exempt issuance.

The compromise allows the Fredericksburg EDA to charge one-eighth of 1% annual fee to issue tax-exempt bonds. In return, the authority will reduce the charge on the taxable bonds.

Read more in The Free-Lance Star....

Legal battle ends over condemnation of Roanoke property

The legal battle over a three-acre plot of land on Reserve Avenue has ended, with B&B Holdings accepting its condemnation. The City of Roanoke had exerted eminent domain to take the land for a Carrilion Clinic biomedical park, but has since dropped those plans.

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Campbell County schools lay off 33

The Campbell County School Board eliminated 68 full-time positions, mostly through attrition and leaving openings unfilled. Thirty-three employees were laid off.

The cuts were needed to balance the division's $72 million budget.

School budgets -- and how they are balanced -- are important to homeowners because the schools are supported by taxes. Also, homes located in popular school districts may be more attractive to young families looking to buy.

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