VOF provides a vast array of services to landowners free of charge, such as, interpreting existing easements, reviewing and approving plans for activities on easement properties and responding to all questions and inquiries from easement landowners and prospective buyers.
The following are services for which a fee is charged in order to defray the costs incurred by VOF. If you have questions about these services or fees, contact your regional VOF office.
Easement Acquisition Fees and Services
Baseline Documentation Report Preparation/Review: A fee of $3,000 –$3,500 (determined by built environment conditions of the property) for all new donated easements, to be charged at the time of BDR preparation. For projects using a third- party for BDR preparation, a $1,500 flat fee for VOF review will be charged. A comprehensive review is necessary to insure that the BDR meets VOF standards.
Reconsideration of Proposal by the Board after one-year lapse: $1,000 fee. This fee applies when an easement project is approved by the Board of Trustees and not recorded within one year of approval. An approved but unrecorded project that must be resubmitted to the Board for reconsideration is subject to a $1,000 fee.
Acquisition and Stewardship Fee for Complex Transactions: This holder fee applies to a variety of conservation projects, both easements and fee simple acquisitions, which include provisions and liabilities that exceed the typical donated easement. The fee applies if a project includes one or more of the following: Grant funding from sources other than the Commonwealth of Virginia, third party enforcement rights, required co-holders, or unique and/or specialized monitoring requirements. The fee will also be charged when VOF agrees to accept an easement or fee simple ownership interest as substitute land, such as those related to a conversion or diversion request under Virginia Code Section 10.1-1704, as part of corrective action for an easement violation or as part of accepting easements associated with state or federal programs such as the Wetland Mitigation Banking program.
The base fee of $17,000 includes the Baseline Documentation Report (BDR) fee applied to donated easements but may be adjusted depending on the details of the transaction. The fee will be decreased based on the extent that a project utilizes Commonwealth of Virginia funding sources such as the Open-Space Lands Preservation Trust Fund or the Virginia Land Conservation Fund (VLCF), and may be decreased to the extent that a particular grant program limits this type of fee or other factors at the discretion of the Executive Director. In cases of conversion or diversion requests or corrective actions, the fee may be higher, depending on the complexity of the project. The fee is due at the time of closing when the transaction is complete.
Stewardship Fees and Services
Easement Amendments: $3,000 fee with application. An additional fee for staff hours may be charged if work exceeds 30 hours; BDR fee does not apply. This fee applies to amendments that are initiated as a result of an easement violation or compliance issue or that are initiated by a landowner to clarify ambiguities or improve conditions for the landowner without imparting impermissible private benefit or inurement.
For “Short Form Amendments” that seek to improve the conservation values of an existing, for example by adding acreage or reducing division and/or dwelling rights, the fee is $500.
Access or Utility Easements: $1,000 fee with application. An additional fee for staff hours may be charged if work exceeds 30 hours. This fee shall apply to requests for administrative or legal work related to ROWs, access or utility easement through the open space easement. This does not include utility or access rights of ways that serve permitted buildings or activities on the property.
Expediting Fee: *Effective January 1, 2017, in cases where an easement owner submits a Request for Review (RFR) or requests a review and/or interpretation related to an easement sale and where the requester requires an immediate answer of 48 hours or less, a fee of $150 will be charged. There is no charge for these services under normal conditions when an answer within 10 days or less is satisfactory.
Ecosystem Service Request for review: $1,000 fee with application. An additional fee for staff time may be charged if work exceeds 30 hours. This fee applies to requests for review and evaluation of ecosystem function projects for commercial purposes on easement properties including, but not limited to, stream bank restoration, wetland and stream mitigation, biological carbon sequestration, and biodiversity mitigation.
Oil and Gas drilling plan review: $10,000 fee with application. An additional fee for staff time may be charged if work exceeds 40 hours.
Impact Review Fee for possible conversion or diversion of Open Space (Virginia Code Section 10.1-1704): *Effective January 1, 2017. $1,500 fee with application. Non-public agencies may request guidance from VOF in the form of interpretations of easements, policies, or similar in the process of working towards a formal request. This fee would not apply to requests for records or documents within the possession of VOF.
Request for conversion or diversion of Open Space (Virginia Code Section 10.1-1704): $5,000 fee with application for applicants other than state or local government or other public agency. An additional fee for staff time may be charged if work exceeds 30 hours.
Present Condition Report in conjunction with property sale: $1,500 fee with application. An additional fee for staff hours may be charged if work exceeds 40 hours.
Boundary Line Adjustments: $2,000 fee with application. An additional fee for staff hours may be charged if work exceeds 30 hours. This fee applies to boundary adjustments between two VOF easements, a boundary adjustment between a VOF easement and an adjacent property subject to an easement held by another governmental entity, and any other type of BLA that VOF is requested to review. The fee covers the review of documents and plats, as well as the deed of conveyance.