G. Robert Lee received CFFC’s fifth Kitty P. Smith Conservation Award during a reception a Hopefield, a historic home near Warrenton.
“All of the great breakthroughs in Fauquier land-use and zoning policies have Bob Lee’s name attached to them: sliding scale density and non-common open space rules for large subdivisions, the purchase of development rights program for Southern Fauquier farers, code of development standards for major housing projects, form-based zoning for Marshall’s historic district and, above all, the mighty conservation easement, which Bob regards as the best tool in his enormous public policy kit,” CFFC President Les Cheek said.
Mr. Lee, a member of Fauquier’s planning commission, previously worked 15 years as the county administrator and nine years as executive director of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. Before coming to Fauquier, he worked 14 years as Clarke County administrator and three years in Southampton County government.
In his remarks, Mr. Lee urged Fauquier’s government leaders to do more to promote conservation easements as the best way to ensure rural preservation.
He also introduced Hope Porter, the matriarch of Fauquier’s conservation community, who lives at Hopefield.
Mrs. Porter, 95, for years has declined any award from CFFC. But, Mr. Lee and Mr. Check praised her efforts that date to 1968 and the battle against proposed development of the 4,100-acre North Wales estate west of Warrenton. She wrote a book about the battle, The Saga of North Wales, published in 2004.
Five decades ago, Mrs. Porter help start the Mid-Fauquier Association, which later became CFFC. She remains engaged in land-use and conservation issues, frequently writing letters to the editor and testifying at public hearings.
CFFC surprised her with a Kitty Smith Award on Sunday night at the reception which drew about 100 people.
The award honors the legacy of Dr. Smith, active in CFFC and a Piedmont Environmental Council staff member, who died in 2015.