This past weekend, I spent a lot of time preparing a slideshow for the William & Mary Environmental Law & Policy Review Symposium, "It’s Not Easy Being Green." As you may recall, I will be presenting on green building regulations in Virginia. Guess what we are going to discuss on Green Building Law Update this week? That’s right, green building regulations in Virginia.
Hold on, stay with me. Virginia is actually a very interesting state for developing green building regulations.
"Municipal corporations have only those powers that are expressly granted . . . ."
One power that is expressly not granted to municipal corporations (cities and counties) is the right to craft a building code:
“The Board is hereby directed and empowered to adopt and promulgate a Uniform Statewide Building Code. Such building code shall supersede the building codes and regulations of the counties [and] municipalities . . . .”
It is clear that Virginia cities and counties cannot require green building through a building code. Such a building code would have to come from the state legislature. But there are instances of Virginia cities creating green building regulations. How do they do it? I will explain on Wednesday.