County to Push for State Fire Code Written by Fire Experts

The Loudoun Board of Supervisors has set its priorities for state and federal lawmakers, and among the new requests this year is putting the State Fire Protection Code in the hands of fire professionals.

Currently, the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development controls the state fire code. Its latest attempt to revise the code has raised alarms with fire officials, who say it strips authority from fire marshals to ensure buildings are safe and weakens enforcement at the local level.

The housing board includes 14 members and includes only one fire official, Chesterfield Assistant Fire Chief and Virginia Fire Services Board member Rob Dawson.

Loudoun is asking the General Assembly to put the state fire code in the hands of the Virginia Fire Services Board.

The county also continues to fight the regular increases in tolls on the Dulles Greenway. Although the Greenway appears every year among the county’s priorities, this year there is a new statement: The county opposes any legislation to extend the Greenways’ automatic toll increases, which are guaranteed by an act of the General Assembly and sunset in 2020. The county also wants the Greenway to be required to implement distance-based tolling and relieve congestion before any subsequent toll increases. Currently, commuters on the Greenway pay the full toll no matter how short their journey on the toll road.

The board has also approved a statement supporting local land use and taxing authority over short-term rentals such as AirBnB.

Among the county’s other priorities: undoing the state’s proffer legislation, which has crippled the county’s ability to negotiate with developers in many areas; change the state-mandated process for acquiring professional services, which limits the county’s ability to pit bidders for county contracts against one another; and legislation that would enable the county to bill and collect taxes on behalf of the towns.

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