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April 7, 2021

Fauquier plans to preserve 551 more acres of farmland

File Photo
Since 2002, the county has paid $17.5 million to snuff out building lots on 13,525 acres of farmland.
It’s a benefit to the farmer. But, it’s a benefit to all of us, because it keeps the county beautiful, instead of wall-to-wall houses and apartment buildings and stuff like that. That’s what people are trying to get away from.
— PDR Committee member John Schied
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The county board of supervisors Thursday likely will agree to eliminate 26 potential home building lots on four Southern Fauquier farms.

Under its voluntary Purchase of Development Rights program, the county will pay the landowners a total of $650,000 — ensuring that another 551.3 rural acres will remain undeveloped.

The board expects to unanimously approve the applications at its April 8 meeting.

Established in 2002, the PDR program pays qualified landowners $25,000 for each potential home lot they agree to “extinguish” through deed restriction.

With this round, Fauquier will pay:

• Remington area farmer Roger Funk $225,000 to extinguish nine potential home sites and permanently protect almost 250.7 acres.

• Midland area farmer Brock Price $175,000 to extinguish seven potential home sites and permanently protect 117.8 acres.

• Remington area farmer Frank Ott Jr. of Lee District $150,000 to extinguish six potential home sites and permanently protect 112.4 acres.

• Bristersburg area farmer Michael Morgan of Cedar Run District $100,000 to extinguish four potential home sites and permanently protect 70.4 acres.

“They’re good mix of projects,” including crop, hay, horse and cattle farms, Fauquier County Agricultural Development Director Ray Pickering said. “Pretty representative of our agriculture.”

With approval of this round’s applications, Fauquier will have purchased 626 development rights, protecting 13,525 acres from development.

No other PDR program in Virginia has protected more rural land.

Fauquier landowners have received about $17.5 million through the program.

About two-thirds of that has come from county tax revenue and the rest from the state, federal government and other sources, including the Piedmont Environmental Council, Mr. Pickering said.

All real estate owners help fund PDRs. Fauquier’s tax rate — 99.4 cents per $100 assessed value — includes sixth-tenths of a cent devoted to the “conservation easement fund.”

While the PDR program helps working farmers — particularly in Southern Fauquier — stay on their land, it also seeks to reduce the financial impact of new homes on public services, particularly education.

John Schied, who owns a 120-acre farm near Warrenton, serves on a five-member committee that reviews and “scores” applications before making recommendations to the supervisors.

“For a lot of people, that’s a nice sum of money,” Mr. Schied said of the $25,000 per development right payment to farmers. “It’s a benefit to the farmer. But it’s a benefit to all of us, because it keeps the county beautiful, instead of wall-to-wall houses and apartment buildings and stuff like that. That’s what people are trying to get away from.”

The county will accept PDR applications for next round through May 30.

For more information about the program, call 540-422-8280 or click here.

Contact Don Del Rosso at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-270-0300.
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