Sheila E. Frace, Trustee of the Sheila E. Frace Trust, Appellant,
Leslie B. Johnson, Fairfax County Zoning Administrator, Appellee
Upon an appeal from a judgment rendered by the Circuit Court of Fairfax County. Circuit Court No. CL-2013-0017108.
Upon consideration of the record, briefs, and argument of counsel, the Court is of opinion that the circuit court did not err when it dismissed the certiorari proceeding because the petitioner failed to timely name the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County (" Board of Supervisors" ) as a party. Therefore, the Court will affirm the judgment of the circuit court.
On May 21 and May 23, 2013, a Fairfax County Code Compliance Investigator responded to an anonymous complaint regarding the property of Sheila E. Frace (" Frace" ) and subsequently issued a Notice of Violation. Frace requested and obtained a hearing before the Board of Zoning Appeals of Fairfax County (" BZA" ) to contest the Notice of Violation. On October 9, 2013, the BZA upheld the violation determination of the Zoning Administrator of Fairfax County (" Zoning Administrator" ).
On November 8, 2013, Frace filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the Circuit Court of Fairfax County pursuant to Code § 15.2-2314, which permits a person " aggrieved by any decision of the board of zoning appeals" to seek judicial review in the appropriate circuit court within 30 days of the final decision of the board of zoning appeals. Consistent with the first paragraph of Code § 15.2-2314, Frace styled her petition as follows:
In RE: October 9, 2013 Decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals of Fairfax County.
She did not name the Board of Supervisors or any other party. She served a copy of the petition on the Chair of the BZA; she did not serve any other entity or person.
[289 Va. 199] Subsequently, the circuit court permitted the Zoning Administrator to intervene. On January 10, 2014, the Zoning Administrator filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that Code § 15.2-2314 made the Board of Supervisors a necessary party to the proceeding. Thus, Frace was required to name the Board of Supervisors as a party within the 30-day period.
On January 24, 2014, the circuit court held a hearing on the Zoning Administrator's motion to dismiss. After hearing argument from counsel, the circuit court granted the motion, ruling that:
The code section is crystal clear that the governing body is a necessary party to the proceeding.
It is the basic rule of appellate procedure that you have to serve all necessary parties. . . . Failure to serve, and the matter fails for that reason.
On appeal, Frace argues that the circuit court erred because she styled the petition precisely as required by the first paragraph of Code § 15.2-2314 and because the 30-day period is not jurisdictionally fatal. For these reasons, she contends that the circuit court
should have allowed her to add the Board of Supervisors as a party to the proceeding after the 30-day statutory period, rather than dismissing the case.
A certiorari proceeding is " purely statutory in nature." Board of Supervisors v. Board of Zoning Appeals, 225 Va. 235, 238, 302 S.E.2d 19, 20 (1983) (" Board of Supervisors I" ). Therefore, the provisions of Code § 15.2-2314 govern " the proper institution of a proceeding thereunder." Id. The interpretation of a statute presents a question of law that the Court reviews de novo. Perreaul ...