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April 4, 2019

Throwback Thursday: Rural land tax breaks debated

Fauquier’s “land-use” tax deferments help sustain agriculture, says Gray Corner, manager of Fleetwood Farm near Delaplane.
25 Years Ago
From The Fauquier Citizen edition of April 8, 1994

County defers $9.2 million in ‘land use’ taxes

Fauquier ranks among the state leaders in acreage and taxes deferred in a program to support rural preservation.

The county this year has granted real estate tax breaks totaling $9.2 million on land that qualifies in at least one of four categories: agriculture, horticulture, forest or open space.

Without the program, “it would be very, very difficult just to pay the taxes,” said Gray Coyner, who manages the 1,600-acre Fleetwood Farm near Delaplane. “I don’t know anybody making enough money to absorb that kind of expense.”

The 3,726 participants in Fauquier’s “land use” program receive average tax deferments of 61.5 percent.

Rural homeowners in the program pay full taxes on their houses and one-acre sites but get the deferments on any land that meets requirements of the program, implemented in 1973.

FCC might want Vint Hill land

The Federal Communications Commission has indicated it might buy part of Vint Hill Farms Station, the local Army base slated for closing.

“We would do monitoring there,” FCC representative Arlan K. van Doorn said. “We monitor licenses or any illegal use of the radio spectrum — private broadcasters . . . . A lot of it is interference control.”

Although terming the FCC’s interest “very preliminary,” van Doorn said the monitoring stations typically take “a couple hundred acres” and employ “12 or 13” people.

A 700-acre base for electronic warfare research and development, Vint Hill interests the FCC because of its location and lack of airwave interference.

No other U.S. government agency expressed interest in Vint Hill before the March 31 “federal screening” deadline, according to C. Hunton Tiffany, chairman of a community task force on conversion of the base to non-military uses.

FHS meeting focuses on guns and drugs

For most parents who attended Monday night’s meeting about drug and gun use by teenagers, the goal was simply to become a little more educated.

“I learned a lot,” Cliff Hart said of the Fauquier High School Parent Advocacy Committee meeting.

About 60 people attended the session in the FHS cafeteria.

PAC presented a variety of speakers, from sheriff’s representatives to students who oppose drunken driving — all of them to educate parents about illegal activity among local teens.

County fair board wants a piece of Corral Farm

Fauquier County Fair organizers want to move their 42-year-old event to the county-owned Corral Farm just south of Warrenton.

Fair representatives this week asked the board of supervisors to consider making available at least 15 of Corral’s 235 acres.

Heavy snow on March 3 crushed the fair’s livestock barn near Marshall. As they considered options for rebuilding, fair officials began talking about a larger, central site.

“This is exciting to us because it would offer the opportunity to expand,” fair board Vice President Patty Leonard told the supervisors Tuesday. “Just moving to Warrenton would bring more guests and, we hope, more participation.”

The supervisors expressed interest in the proposal.

Since 1965, the fair has taken place on four acres adjacent to the Fauquier Livestock Exchange. The fair moved there from the Warrenton Horse Show Grounds.

County budget hearing draws a crowd

Five hundred citizens attended the public hearing March 30 on the county’s proposed $77.3-million budget for fiscal 1995.

Of 70 speakers, 30 supported full funding of the school board’s $59.1-million request. Twenty-six defended the county’s “land use” tax deferment program to encourage rural preservation.

Remington farmer Frank Ott provided the best quote of the evening at Warrenton Middle School: “Anybody carryin’ a stack of paper under their arm and makin’ $50,000 should be cut.”

Group pushes uniforms at Liberty High

The Liberty High School Advisory Committee, composed of area citizens, recommends uniforms for students.

The new Bealeton school will open in the fall.

“A month ago we suggested (to Principal John Harrison) a uniform based on school colors,” said Bealeton farmer C.L. “Boots” Ritchie, who has nine grandchildren in the county school system. “It’s a growing trend across the nation because there are so many problems, and there’s the high price of shoes and jackets. Kids get jealous. Kids can’t afford to be jealous.”

Ritchie wants LHS boys to wear white shirts and solid-color trousers, while girls would be clad in “jumpers or whatever with school colors.”
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