Farmland, forest land and open-space land are important to our heritage in Virginia. These lands are under increasing pressure from urban development in parts of the Commonwealth.
The 1997 Virginia General Assembly created a new fund, the Open Space Lands Preservation Trust Fund (Va. Code Sections 10.1801-2), to assist landowners with the costs of conveying open-space easements and the purchase of all or part of the value of the easements.
Open space easements preserve farmland, forest land, and natural and recreational areas by restricting intensive uses, such as development and mining, which would alter the conservation values of the land.
An easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a public body or conservation group in which the parties agree to protect the open-space and natural resource values of the land.
Each easement is tailored to reflect the conservation values of the property and is recorded in the local courthouse as a permanent part of the property records. Easements do not grant public access to a landowner’s property.
Costs That the Fund May Reimburse:
1. Legal costs
2. Appraisal and other costs
3. All or part of the easement’s value
Priority May Be Given In Applications That:
1. Seek cost-reimbursement only
2. Demonstrate financial need
3. Cover a family-owned or operated farm
DOES MY LAND QUALIFY?
The VOF’s staff and Board of Trustees evaluate each potential easement for its scenic, scientific, natural, historic, recreational or open-space value using the VOF’s Guidelines.
VOF Guidelines recommend an overall density of principal residences of one house per 100 acres or less, and that parcels of less than 100 acres permit no subdivision.
HOW TO APPLY:
Download a Preservation Trust Fund application. Applications will be reviewed at each Board of Trustees meeting for approval.
Please read the Preservation Trust Fund tax info and disclaimer sheet for additional information on the PTF program, with Hypothetical Scenarios for Calculating Preservation Trust Fund (PTF) Cost/Benefit.
If interested, please contact your nearest VOF Office for more information.