Preservation efforts gain traction with Loudoun supervisors’ votes

virginia logoIn a Dec. 4 meeting, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors approved two conservation initiatives proposed to help preserve the county’s rural areas.

In a vote of 8-1, the board authorized implementation of a 2019 grant program to offset costs associated with putting land under a conservation easement. In a 9-0 vote they approved a request for a study of the potential for a county transfer of development rights program.

Chris Van Vlack, a Loudoun hay producer and president of Loudoun County Farm Bureau, said he is “very excited, cautiously optimistic but still realistic” about the news.

Van Vlack described the conservation easement grant program as “a great little foot-in-the-water kind of test,” given that it will benefit 10 landowners in its first year. “But it’s definitely a good thing and a good first step.”

Loudon Farm Bureau is one of several organizations that have formed the non-partisan alliance Save Rural Loudoun.

In a Dec. 5 Facebook post, Save Rural Loudoun told its supporters that the county government “is responding to all of you who have expressed the importance of preserving Loudoun’s unique rural countryside.”

Loudoun’s Conservation Easement Stewardship Program, under which landowners could sell rights to develop their property to the county, was defunded in 2004.

Moving forward, Van Vlack noted, “I think the biggest thing that needs to happen … in order to have a TDR or PDR (purchase of development rights) program is that it has to be in the comprehensive plan when that gets finalized.”

Loudoun’s comprehensive plan is being updated, and county supervisors are expected to review a final draft of the new plan in early 2019.

Conservation easements are agreements between landowners and local governments or nonprofit organizations to permanently limit development on a property. Costs associated with putting a conservation easement in place include appraisals and financial and legal services.

Transfer of development rights programs are voluntary, incentive-based efforts that allow landowners to sell development rights from their land to a developer or other interested party who can use the rights to increase the density of development at another designated location.

Loudoun is roughly half rural, with more than 1,400 farms that generate more than $37 million annually. Since 2010, the county’s population has increased 27 percent, to more than 380,000. Loudoun has lost 72,000 acres of farmland in the past 30 years.

County staff reported that Loudoun is one of the top three counties in Virginia in the number of conservation easements—about 750—and total acres under conservation easements.

Details of the conservation easement assistance program and transfer of development rights study are available on the county website at loudoun.gov/3426/Board-of-Supervisors-Meetings-Packets.



augusta free press
augusta free press news

UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Buy here.

AFP Business

As professional consultants, Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including website design, SEO, TV/radio, video work, branding and logos, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation. Augusta Free Press LLC was founded in 2002.

Web Design

Augusta Free Press has designed more than 800 websites for clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design, content development and SEO. Short on staff? We’ll work with you to update your AFP-designed website in a timely manner or train your staff to make changes.

Marketing/Social Media Management

Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.

Graphic Design

Augusta Free Press will help you take your vision to the next level. From branding and logos to print materials, our team will work with you to develop products to showcase your business. From brochures and rack cards to full-color magazines or print/digital ads, we’ve got you covered.

Event Planning/Fundraising

Augusta Free Press will help you plan the best event for your organization. From an open house or anniversary to a 5K or Pay Per View, we can handle it all. Looking for training for your sales staff? We can help energize your employees or board. Need ideas to raise more money? Let us help you plan a successful event. Want to hold a news conference or need help with a press release? We can do that too.

Click here for more.