I hope you survived the dramatic cliffhanger from Monday.  Now, time to answer the question, how do Virginia cities and counties regulate green building if they cannot adopt a building code? 

Such a dramatic pause for such a mundane answer:  zoning ordinances. 

The Virginia code specifically delegates to the municipalities the right to create zoning ordinances:

“The planning commission of each locality may, and at the direction of the governing body shall, prepare a proposed zoning ordinance including . . . a text setting forth the regulations applying in each district.”

Under the Dillon Rule, the state creates the building code at the state level but cities and counties can create zoning ordinances at the local level. 
Local governments have recognized the opportunity to regulate green building through zoning ordinances.  You may remember this great quote from a previous post:

“Arlington County is deliberately pushing the limits of state law to insist on green standards for development. . . . Arlington pioneered green building standards through its planning and zoning . . . process.”

Next week, we will examine Arlington County’s green building regulations.  In the meantime, I have something very special for Friday.

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