COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

ACE Program--Acceptance of Landowners’ Offer to Sell a Conservation Easement.

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Adopt a resolution accepting a landowners’ offer to sell a conservation easement.

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, Cilimberg, Benish, Goodall

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

AGENDA DATE:

February 8, 2006

 

ACTION:                                  INFORMATION:   

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

  ACTION:     X                         INFORMATION:   

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:   No

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

 

BACKGROUND:

ACE regulations require each landowner who desires to sell a conservation easement to submit a written offer to the County to sell the easement for a fixed price, determined by an appraisal and subject to an adjustment based on adjusted gross income.  The easements would also be subject to the terms and conditions contained in a proposed deed of easement negotiated by the parties.  The regulations also require that, if the Board accepts the offer, it must do so in writing and only after an action by the Board authorizing acceptance.  The Board is not required to accept an offer to sell a conservation easement.  Either the Albemarle County Public Recreational Facilities Authority (“PRFA”) or the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (“VOF”) may be co-holders of the easements.

 

Regulations also require the ACE Committee to recommend to the Board which parcels, from an initial pool of applicants, should be offered invitations to sell conservation easements.  In the event a higher ranked applicant(s) drops out of this initial pool, the Committee may substitute another parcel(s) that is ranked lower provided it is still eligible. 

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Goal: 2.1 – “Protect and/or preserve the County’s rural character”. 

Goal: 2.2 – “Protect and/or preserve the County’s natural resources”.

 

DISCUSSION:

In early January 2006, the County received offers to sell conservation easements from Henry Page and Dan Bieker, both of whom live in the North Garden area.  These properties were the only two from the class of 2003-04 (Round 4) that agreed to sell an easement to the County for the appraised value.  Two other landowners from this class declined to accept the County’s offers. 

 

The 558.900 acre Page property is located on the eastern flank of Taylor’s Mountain, approximately 10 miles southwest of Charlottesville.  It consists of rolling farmland, forested mountainland and over 11,000 feet of permanently protected stream buffer, established by the CREP program.  The primary source of points from the ACE ranking evaluation criteria include: 1) it is a very large tract of land; 2) it contains 250 acres of “prime” farmland; and 3) the property has 39 acres of ridge areas.  The ridge areas are located in the Comprehensive Plan's Mountain Overlay District Elevation Map.  In addition, the Deed of Easement would permit no further subdivision, thereby eliminating 30 division rights.  In August 2005, the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation awarded an $85,433 grant for the purchase of the Page easement and related closing costs.

 

The 107.240 acre Bieker property lies on the eastface of Cook Mountain near North Garden.  Except for the lowest footslopes, most of the property is wooded mountainland.  The primary source of points from the ranking evaluation criteria include: 1) an easement to provide permanent protection for 4,300 feet of stream with a 100-foot wide woodland buffer; 2) the property has 66 acres of ridge areas. The ridge areas are located in the Comprehensive Plan's Mountain Overlay District Elevation Map; 3) the owner relies on farm income from the property; and 4) an easement would eliminate 19 division rights. 

The two properties consist of eight (8) tax parcels that together contain 666.140 acres:

Owner               Tax Parcel Number        Acres                            Price                             Co-holder

Page                 TM 73, Parcel 24           558.900 acres                $450,000                       PRFA

Bieker               TM 99, Parcel 38A           75.250 acres                 161,000                       PRFA

Bieker               TM 99, Parcel 39             13.190 acres                                                   PRFA

Bieker               TM 99, Parcel 40               5.370 acres                                                   PRFA

Bieker               TM 99, Parcel 40A             5.380 acres                                                   PRFA

Bieker               TM 99, Parcel 40B             1.800 acres                                                   PRFA

Bieker               TM 99, Parcel 40C             3.120 acres                                                   PRFA

Bieker               TM 99, Parcel 40D             3.130 acres                                                   PRFA

Total                                                     666.140 acres                $611,000

 

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

There is no additional request for funding related to this request for action.  Funding for the purchase of these conservation easements will come from the CIP-Tourism-Conservation budget (line item #9010-72030-580416), a budget previously approved by the Board to fund ACE properties with “tourism value”.  The Virginia Land Conservation Foundation also awarded an $85,433 grant for the purchase of the Page easement and related closing costs.

As stated in the November 2, 2005, Executive Summary, the recently accepted appraisals of these properties was the basis for the value of the easement and the County’s purchase price.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

The ACE Committee recommends that the Board of Supervisors adopt the attached Resolution accepting the landowners’ offer to sell a conservation easement to the County for the price specified and subject to the terms and conditions contained in the proposed deed of easement, and to authorize the County Executive to execute all documents necessary to acquire the easements. 

 

ATTACHMENTS

A - Resolution Accepting Offer to Sell a Conservation Easement under the ACE Program
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