Virginia has more than 250 specialized license plates for all manner of organizations and causes, and Vienna officials for years have wanted to add a town-themed plate to that lineup.
But there was one nearly insurmountable hurdle: State law required cities, counties and towns seeking specialized plates to obtain at least 350 pre-paid orders first.
Those requirements changed April 1 after Gov. Youngkin signed a bill patroned by local Del. Mark Keam (D-Oakton-Vienna) that lets local governments pay the initial-issuance-fee costs for specialty license plates displaying the locality’s seal, symbol, emblem or logotype in lieu of getting those prepaid applications.
The bill, HB 703, passed unanimously in the state Senate and House of Delegates and takes effect July 1.
Vienna officials years ago had a license plate designed that featured an artist’s rendition of Town Hall in the center, with three blue letters or numbers arrayed on either side of the graphic.
Town officials earlier asked the General Assembly for a code amendment to remove the requirement for pre-paid orders, but it never got out of committee, said Town Attorney Steven Briglia.
“We tried a different approach, and the General Assembly approved the language and the governor signed the bill,” he said.
Although Vienna already has the earlier design for a specialized license plate, Briglia thought it likely the Town Council would determine a process for selecting a new license plate and then move forward.
Town officials would work with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles commissioner regarding the initial layout costs, Briglia said.
“The design costs for doing the original art would depend on how the Town Council wanted to proceed, either with an existing design or a new design,” he said.
“I think it is exciting to have the opportunity for a Vienna license plate,” said Mayor Linda Colbert. “I believe the Town Council will need to have a work session first to determine the next steps.”
Virginia’s specialty license plates span the gamut from colleges, universities and military academies to museums, associations, geographical sites, fraternities and ideological positions.