In 1997, the Virginia General Assembly created the Open-Space Lands Preservation Trust Fund (PTF) (Virginia Code §10.1-1801.1) to help with costs of conveying an open-space or conservation easement, which can be prohibitive for some landowners. Funding for the program varies by year and is often very limited. Some examples of costs that can be covered are fees charged by VOF, attorneys and appraisers. In addition, localities throughout the Commonwealth may apply for assistance from PTF to jumpstart programs for the purchase of development rights (PDR) or to support existing PDR programs.
Does My Land Qualify?
Each proposed conservation or open-space easement is evaluated for its scenic, scientific, natural, historic, recreational, or open-space value by VOF staff and Board of Trustees. The evaluation is based on VOF’s Guidelines and takes into account the priorities listed above, including financial need.
Priority is given to applicants with family farms and who demonstrate significant financial need. Financial need is established by submitting federal income tax forms for the most recent two years for which taxes have been filed. For 2016 priority funding will be given to landowners with an average income of $63,000 or less; a sliding-scale listed below indicates funding at lower amounts which may be available for incomes over $63,000 for specified costs.
The recommended requests provide assistance for the Baseline Documentation Report (BDR) Preparation or Review fee and the costs of legal and appraisal services.
- $10,000: up to $3,500 reserved for BDR fee; remaining for legal and appraisal
- $6,500: up to $3,500 reserved for BDR fee; remaining for legal and appraisal
- $1,500/$750: up to $1,500 reserved for 50% of BDR Prep fee or $750 for BDR Review fee (donor pays other half).
General guidance for the request amounts is as follows:
|Annual income||Recommended award||Available for VOF fees||Available for landowner legal and appraisal costs|
|Up to $63,000||$11,500||$3,000-$5,000; covers 100%||$6,500-$8,500; 100% cost share*|
|$63,001-$79,000||$8,000||$3,000-$5,000; covers 100%||$3,000-$5,000; 75% cost share*|
|$79,001-$100,000||$2,250-$3,000||100% of Processing fee; 50% of BDR fee up to $3,000||$0|
*Applicant may request a higher award with cost estimates from lawyer and/or appraiser.
HOW TO APPLY:
Download and fill out a PTF Cost-Only Application. Applications will be reviewed at each Board of Trustees meeting for approval.
If interested, please contact your nearest VOF Office for more information.