The new Commonwealth of Virginia Virginia Disclosure statement (PDF) states:*
(a) The seller is making no representations with respect to any matters that may pertain to parcels adjacent to the subject property. Purchasers should exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary with respect to adjacent parcels in accordance with the terms and conditions of the purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement on the subject property.
In short, sellers are generally responsible for disclosing anything within the four corners of their property, and the buyer (and buyer’s agent) should do all the due diligence they can to learn about what is outside those four corners.
Bill Edgerton (Jack Jouett) also expressed sympathy for the neighbors, but he could not support making an exception, in part because of the history of neighborhoods changing their minds on sidewalks, particularly when faced with the prospect of a new neighborhood being connected to an existing development.”The developer had an obligation to make sure that the people on Hatcher Court knew that the sidewalk was coming in,” said Edgerton. “I can see at a later date Hatcher Court connecting with other properties to the north. At that time, the sidewalk is going to become very critical.”
Mr. Mitchell was, however, quite surprised to learn that, at least in the view of some of the Planning Commissioners and staff, his cul-de-sac was seen as accommodating a road interconnection to future development adjacent to his property. “I am very surprised,” said Mitchell. “My lot backs up to the land and there is probably not much development potential there. That’s why I bought my lot.” Mitchell said that if the County ever tried to connect Hatcher Court he would both be opposed to it and try to buy the land behind him.
In my view, unless you own the land around you, it is more likely than not to become, at some point, either a through road (not the cul-de-sac you’re used to) or some form of development.
In this case, it sounds like the neighbors don’t want the sidewalks; but what happens in ten years when the cul-de-sacs become through roads? (I don’t have any knowledge that this is likely, only that with the County’s move towards connectivity between neighborhoods, and supposed encouraging of people to walk and ride bikes rather than drive, this is more likely than not).
*As a clarification, this form, nor the cited language is not new, but the fact that we have only one form now – a Disclosure form – rather than either a Disclaimer or a Disclosure is new.