Rights & Responsibilities:
The Rights of Requesters and the Responsibilities of the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act
The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located § 2.2-3700 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials, and public employees.
A public record is any writing or recording -- regardless of whether it is a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any other format -- that is 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.
The policy of FOIA states that the purpose of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities. In furthering this policy, FOIA requires that the law be interpreted liberally, in favor of access, and that any exemption allowing public records to be withheld must be interpreted narrowly.
Your FOIA Rights
Making a Request for records from the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority
To request records from the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, you may direct your request to Sherryann Brown, Administrative Operations Director. She can be reached as follows:
By phone at (757) 539-2100
By fax at (757) 539-5184
By mail at 530 E Pinner Street, Suffolk, Virginia 23434.
You may also contact her with questions you have concerning requesting records from the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority. In addition, the Freedom of Information Advisory Council is available to answer any questions you may have about FOIA. The Council may be contacted by e-mail, or by phone at (804) 225-3056 or toll free at 1-866-448-4100.
The Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority's Responsibilities in Responding to Your Request
The Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority must respond to your request within five working days of receiving it. "Day One" is considered the day after your request is received. The five-day period does not include weekends or holidays.
The reason behind your request for public records from the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority is irrelevant, and you do not have to state why you want the records before we respond to your request. FOIA does, however, allow the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority to require you to provide your name and legal address.
FOIA requires that the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority make one of the following responses to your request within the five-day time period:
A public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records. No public body shall impose any extraneous, intermediary, or surplus fees or expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records or transacting the general business of the public body. Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication. All charges for the supplying of requested records shall be estimated in advance at the request of the citizen as set forth in subsection F of § 2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia.
Types of records
The Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority in accordance with timelines set forth by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Library of Virginia and other governing bodies as determined by the type of record. The following is a general description of the types of record maintained by the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority:
Commonly used exemptions
The Code of Virginia allows any public body to withhold certain records from public disclosure. The Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority commonly withhold records subject to the following exemptions: