Courthouse Status and Historic Timeline
At the annual meeting of the Virginia General Assembly in January 2022, legislation was introduced to allow Augusta County to go to referendum in November 2022 and ask county citizens to decide the location of the courthouse. SB283 and HB902 was approved by the General Assembly in March. Governor Glenn Youngkin signed the legislation on May 27, 2022.
The referendum language that voters will see on the ballot in the November 8, 2022, election is as follows:
Under Virginia law, Augusta County must provide an adequate court facility for the Augusta County Courts. To accomplish that purpose:
Shall the county courthouse be relocated to Augusta County at a cost of $80,026,447?
Shall the county courthouse remain in the City of Staunton at a cost of $103,855,525?
Legislation was put forth before the General Assembly by Senator Emmett Hanger and Delegate John Avoli, prompted by the court order issued on September 13, 2021, by the Circuit Court Chief Judge against the Augusta County Board of Supervisors pursuant to Virginia Code § 15.2-1643. The county is under this court order to address the needs for a secure and safe courts facility.
An order for the Writ of Election was signed on August 12, 2022, by the Chief Judge which officially places the County’s petition for the referendum on the ballot.
Additionally, a consent order by Judge David Melesco was entered on August 9 that acknowledges that the schematic plans for both projects submitted by the County would provide adequate court facilities and would meet the Virginia Courthouse Facility Guidelines.
The approval of schematic plans for both projects and a space needs assessment are part of the Show Cause Court Order process under which the Board of Supervisors must build a courts facility that is safe and secure.