Make a Public Records (FOIA) Request

The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Title 2.2, Chapter 37, Sections 2.2-3700 through 2.2-3714 of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records in the possession of public bodies, public officials and public employees or agents.

Public Records

Public records include any writing or recording, in any format (including handwritten notes, typewritten documents, electronic files, text messages and audio or video recordings), prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open, and may only be withheld if a specific statutory exemption applies. A record of the discussion or transaction of public business is considered a public record even if not stored on county-issued equipment.

Purpose of FOIA

The purpose of FOIA is to ensure the people of the Commonwealth ready access to public records in the custody of a public body or its officers and employees, and free entry to meetings of public bodies. In order to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities and afford every opportunity to citizens to witness the operations of government, the provisions of FOIA are to be liberally construed and any exemption from public access is to be narrowly construed.

Rights of the Citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia & Representatives of the Media

  • To inspect and/or to receive copies of public records
  • To request that any charges for the requested records be estimated in advance
  • To file a petition in general district court or circuit court to enforce FOIA

Request Timing

Hanover County must respond to your request within five working days of receiving it, with Day One being considered to be the day after your request is received. The five-day period does not include weekends or holidays. If it is practically impossible for Hanover County to respond to your request within the five-day period, we must state this in writing, explaining the conditions that make the response impossible. This will allow us seven additional working days to respond to your request, giving us a total of 12 working days to respond to your request.

Other Rights & Responsibilities

Other Rights and Responsibilities can be read in the linked attachment in the Forms & Documents section on this page, as well as detailed information on the County's Policies.

Commitment to Customer Service

Hanover County embraces the principle of open government and is committed to providing the same exceptional level of customer service in response to requests for public records that it provides in all other areas. The County is also mindful of the need to protect the legitimate privacy interests of individuals and to comply with other laws that may limit the County's ability to provide access to certain records.

For More Information Contact

County Administrator's Office
c/o Tom Harris, County FOIA Officer
P.O. Box 470
7516 County Complex Road
Hanover, VA 23069