Update on Rural Land Preservation Programs in Virginia

APA Virginia Chapter


Tuesday, July 18, 2017
3:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. EDT

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This session will focus on proving a 2017 update/overview of state and federal programs coordinated by VDACS and established land preservation tools within two Virginia localities. Presenters will provide overviews of the programs currently available and utilized and how successful they have been since their creation/adoption. The overall theme that ties this session together is how land conservation programs combined with good community planning contribute towards the long-term resiliency and sustainability of rural communities in Virginia.

Virginia Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services Land Conservation Update 2017: The session would start with a 2017 update on the status of federal and state land conservation programs – specifically focusing on state programs. The Coordinator of the Office of Farmland Preservation, Andy Sorrell, will provide information on the federal Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and then more detailed info on the state-matching Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program and soon-to-be completed PDR benchmark study of local Virginia PDR programs. Mr. Sorrell will also provide information on the status of the state regulations on Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) programs.

Frederick County Land Conservation Update 2017: Candice Perkins will provide an overview of Frederick County’s Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Program. This program was established in 2010 and to date has severed rights from over 700 acres of rural land. The County has also certified development rights to be severed and marketed from another 700 plus acres of land. Currently one residential development is under construction utilizing transferred development rights. Frederick County’s TDR Program is managed by staff but is completely landowner and developer funded.

Stafford County Land Conservation Update 2017: Kathy Baker will provide an overview of Stafford County’s land conservation initiatives, including efforts to branch out through agency partnerships. The County has an active Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) Program, which utilizes excess rollback taxes from the County’s Land Use Taxation program, as well as matching funds through the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation. The County has also partnered with Marine Corps Base Quantico and the Department of Defense to purchase conservation easements through the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program, which helps preserve compatible land uses and natural habitats near installations. A recent developer contribution has allowed pursuit of land acquisition adjacent to Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve, with assistance from Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). In 2015, the County took its first step toward a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program by amending its Comprehensive Plan and adopting a TDR ordinance. The County staff has been working with NVCT to formalize a partnership agreement to enhance conservation efforts, and increase awareness of its land conservation program through public education and outreach.  With multiple partners and various approaches, the County can continue to create opportunity for open space preservation in a high growth locality.



Kathy Baker

Confirmed Speaker


Candice Perkins, AICP

Confirmed Speaker


Andrew Sorrell

Confirmed Speaker

Andrew V. "Andy" Sorrell, AICP, grew up in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia but happily moved to the countryside after college. He studied environmental planning and public administration at Virginia Tech and proceeded to work for rural Virginia local governments as a county planner managing governmental programs and solving problems ... Read More

Contact Info

Eldon James, ejames7@me.com