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Orange County supervisors propose 6-cent tax property tax increase

Orange County supervisors have decided to advertise a 6-cent increase, although they may ultimately pass a lower rate. Supervisors don't yet know how much funding the county will get from the state, and they can pass a rate less than advertised, but not higher without running a new advertisement.

County Administrator Julie Jordan's proposed budget gives the school system the same local contribution as last year, but state funding cuts have led the schools to eliminate 81.5 jobs. The county may need to provide more money for the schools.


Roanoke jury values seized land at $2.2 million

A small victory in Roanoke for property owners around the Commonwealth: The Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority has been ordered to pay Jay and Stephanie Burkholder $2.2 million for land seized under eminent domain. The figure falls between the $1.53 million the housing authority had offered to pay and the value of about $4.5 million given the Burkholders by two appraisers.

The Burkholders plan to continue their fight against the seizure, and say they hope to ultimately strengthen the rights of Virginia property owners.

"I intend to be a missionary or warrior for property rights," Stephanie Burkholder said. "I will not roll up and go away."

Virginia Beach developer nailed with $24,000 fine after state and local agencies make conflicting demands

When a Virginia Beach developer was asked to mow an overgrown 1/3 acre wetlands field by the local government, it complied. But the State Water Control Board considered the tract of land a protected wetland, and by mowing it, they say the developer altered and degraded the wetland, which should have been preserved as natural and open space.

"We had the state saying, 'Don't touch the site,' and the city saying, 'Mow it now,' " said Carl Eason, an attorney representing Glenwood South and its affiliate, Warner Construction. "I felt like I was in 'Alice in Wonderland.' "

YOUR VIRGINIA brings you up to speed now that the General Assembly has adjourned

Virginia's state legislators have gone home for the year, but not before approving a very thin budget and three homeowner-friendly bills that will help increase the value of your Virginia home in these ugly economic times. We've got the need-to-know information for homeowners in the latest installment of YOUR VIRGINIA, the official newsletter of the Virginia Homeowners Alliance.

Didn't get a copy? Check out the third edition now, and register at to make sure you get the next one.

Appalachian Power Co. asks for 12.8% increase, commission recommends 3%

Appalachian Power Co. wants to raise rates a whopping 12.8%. If the rate hike is permitted, a customer currently paying $105 per month would instead owe $118.44. The State Corporation Commission is recommending that commissioners consider limiting the rate increase to 3%.
Appalachian's 2009 profit from its full service territory, including parts of Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee, totaled $155.81 million.
Read more at The Roanoke Times

Tougher stormwater regulations postponed

Stricter standards to keep stormwater runoff under control -- and out of the Chesapeake watershed -- have been postponed until at least the end of 2010, and possibly as late as Dec. 1, 2011.

The tougher standards would control the way new homes, shopping centers, and other developments are built. Environmentalists maintain the new standards are necessary to protect the watershed for future generations, but opponents say the rules will increase sprawl, increase the cost of housing, and that consumers would ultimately bear the cost of stricter development rules that builders would have have to comply with.

Read more in The Daily Press...

NAR Green Designation

March 10, 2010 - 9:00am - March 11, 2010 - 5:00pm
Dulles Area Association of REALTORS®, 803 Sycolin Road, #222, Leesburg, VA 20175

This two-day course highlights what makes a property green, strategies for educating clients about green features, financial incentives and rebates available to home buyers and how to market yourself as a green real estate specialist once you obtain the GREEN designation.


Fees - $299 members/non-members

Web site, phone number and/or e-mail address where members can learn more –,, 703/777-2468 

Turbines proposed for Poor Mountain

According to the Roanoke Times, a Chicago-based clean energy company envisions a wind farm of 15 turbines atop a portion of Poor Mountain in Roanoke County. Invenergy's power-generating windmills would be 443 feet from base to the highest tip of a blade and occupy ridge lines along what has been described as one of Virginia's windiest land-based wind power generation sites.  Bent Mountain resident Ed Elswick, a member of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, said he thinks the wind farm's development could be a good thing for the county. It would provide green energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and might even improve the appearance of Poor Mountain, he said.

The scoop on the Realtor legislative agenda's progress: Capitol Connections #7

Things are looking good for the Realtor® Legislative Agenda as it makes its way through both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly. Read all about it in today's Capitol Connections newsletter.

VAR bills that have passed both houses:

Selling raw land? Not so fast, says NAR.

Under all is the land... But run afoul of a recent change to NAR's Code of Ethics about land brokerage, and your career could be six feet under it.

Last fall, NAR amended Article 11 of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics to include land as a real estate discipline that requires specialized expertise.  Aricle 11 expains that Realtors® should not provide specialized professional services concerning a type of property or service that is outside their field of competence, unless they either engage the assistance of someone who is competent in a specific discipline or fully disclose to the client that they don't possess expertise in a particular area.