The plain meaning of Code § 28.2-625 establishes that municipal corporations – like other corporations authorized to apply for, occupy, and hold oyster-planting ground leases – are entitled to receive these leases by transfer.
The circuit court order affirming a decision by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission rejecting the City’s application to receive a transfer of an oyster-planting ground lease under § 28.2-625. But the court erred in concluding that the General Assembly intended to make municipalities ineligible to receive these leases by transfer. As used in the Code, the term “corporation” generally includes “municipal corporations.” If the General Assembly wishes to make a distinction between municipal corporations and other corporations, it has used express language to do so. Code § 28.2-625(1) contains no such distinction.
Municipalities are eligible to apply for oyster-planting ground leases under Code § 28.2-604(ii). Because the City can apply for oyster-planting ground leases, it is among the corporate entities authorized to “occupy and hold oyster-planting ground” as required by Code § 28.2-625(1).
Reversed and remanded.