Developer Proffers

In my weekly appearance today on Coy Barefoot’s

radio show


Charlottesville Right Now

(WINA AM 1070), we plan to discuss developer proffers.  Please call in between 4:30 and 5:00 PM at 434-977-1070 to share your insights.

The following items got me thinking about this issue:

A proffer is a voluntary condition placed on a rezoning request.  It is an offer from the landowner promising to provide an improvement, cash, or service to help justify the zoning changes required to develop the property.  They become a binding and enforceable aspect of the zoning of the property.

For example, you might have a piece of property in County zoned as rural going back many years.  However, it is also on land considered to be part of the County’s designated growth area.  You could develop it to a certain extent by-right, or what is allowed by the existing zoning.  But if you wanted to put in retail stores, offices and townhouses, you would need to get the property rezoned to support a Neighborhood Model Development.  This is what we saw happen at Old Trail Village in Crozet and at the Hollymead Town Center in the area where the Target is located.

Proffers are something the locality negotiates in advance of a rezoning.  This is the only time the locality has this leverage.  Virginia law does not allow proffers at the time a developer brings forward their subdivision plan or site plan.  Also, the developer has to volunteer it, elected officials can’t ask for specifics in exchange for approval.

Types of things that get proffered:

On the radio program I’ll talk about the size and scope of proffers we see around developments in Charlottesville-Albemarle.

Brian Wheeler