COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Acceptance of FY 2004-05 landowners’ offers to sell conservation easements; Accept FY 2005-06 ACE appraisals; Approve extending invitations to submit offers to sell to the top five ranked FY 2005-06 applicants

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Adopt resolution accepting FY 2004-05 landowners’ offers to sell conservation easements; Approval of all appraisals from Round 6 ACE properties (FY 2005-06) and purchase of easements on the top five properties

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

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

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

 

AGENDA DATE:

November 1, 2006

 

ACTION:                                 INFORMATION:   

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

  ACTION:   X                         INFORMATION:   

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:    Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 


BACKGROUND:

Acceptance of FY 2004-05 landowners’ offers to sell a conservation easement – On July 5, 2006, the Board of Supervisors approved the appraisals for the FY 2004-05 applications and approved extending invitations to submit offers to sell to those properties.  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 easement is also 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.

 

Approval of FY 2005-06 ACE appraisals - On May 3, 2006, the Board of Supervisors approved the Acquisition of Conservation Easement (ACE) Committee’s request to have five properties appraised from the Round 6 (FY 2005-06) applicant pool. Based on estimates of easement value for this class, the ACE Committee believed funding was sufficient to purchase most, if not all, of these easements. Furthermore, the ACE Committee believed it was prudent to obtain appraisals on more properties than funding would allow in the event that some higher ranking applicants drop out once they receive their appraisals.  In early August 2006, the appraisals for Round 6 were completed by Pape and Company (see Attachment “A”).  The appraisals were reviewed by the Appraisal Review Committee on September 27, 2006.

 

Before the County can extend applicants invitations to submit offers to sell, the Appraisal Review Committee must review the appraisals to make sure they are consistent with appropriate appraisal guidelines and practices and recommend that the Board of Supervisors accept the appraisals as presented.  Regulations then require that the ACE Committee recommend which of the appraised parcels the board should invite to submit offers to sell conservation easements on.  In the event a higher ranked applicant(s) drops out of this initial pool, the Committee may slide down the ranking list and substitute another parcel(s) that is lower ranked provided it is still eligible.  In addition, the ACE Committee must decide how many easements can be purchased within the budget and make recommendations thereon to the Board.  The selection process is based on scoring and class rank (according to the ranking evaluation criteria).  Only the highest ranked properties, whose purchase is feasible within the budget limits, are recommended by the Committee (see Attachment “B”). 

 

The Board of Supervisors must then identify the easements to be purchased as provided under section A.1-111(A), which states in part: "From the list of applications received under section A.1-110(D), the board of supervisors shall designate the initial pool of parcels identified for conservation easements to be purchased. The size of the pool shall be based upon the funds available for easement purchases in the current fiscal year and the purchase price of each conservation easement in the pool established under section A.1-111(B)."  Since it is unlikely that every applicant to whom an invitation to offer to sell is sent will submit an offer, if one applicant drops out of the pool, another applicant would be added until the County runs out of applicants or money, whichever occurs first.

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Protect Natural Resources - By June 30, 2010, increase the total combined acreage in permanent conservation easements and qualifying public parkland by 30,000* additional acres (50%) using public and private means.

Manage Growth - By June 30, 2010, increase the protection of the County's rural areas by implementing the key strategies of the Rural Area Plan.

 

DISCUSSION:

Acceptance of FY 2004-05 landowners’ offers to sell a conservation easement - From the Round 5 (FY 2004-05) applicant pool, the County recently received offers to sell conservation easements from Boyle, Vieille and Donnelly, the owners of the properties described below:

Owner               Tax Map-Parcel Number                                    Price                         Co-holder

Vieille               TM 56, Parcel 113  (269.200 acres)                     $304,000                    PRFA                                        

 

Boyle                TM 95, Parcel 1      (  93.540 acres)                    $280,000                    PRFA                             

                        TM 95, Parcel 18    (  14.180 acres)                                                                                           

                          Total                        (107.720 acres)

 

Donnelly            TM 120, Parcel 17  (161.590 acres)                     $150,000                    PRFA                 

 

Three other applicants from this pool (Davey, Metcalf/South and Rock Mills Land Trust) have not yet submitted offers to sell conservation easements to the County.  Offers to sell are anticipated from these applicants once they have adequately assessed the County’s invitation to submit an offer and approved the exact terms and conditions of the deed of easement.

 

Acceptance of FY 2005-06 ACE appraisals and approve extending invitations to submit offers to sell to the top five ranked FY 2005-06 applicants - On September 27, 2006, the Appraisal Review Committee recommended the Board accept all five Round 6 (FY 2005-06) appraisals.  Subsequently, the ACE Committee recommended that the Board of Supervisors invite the top five ranked applicants, which are the Huckleberry Hill Farm, Chester, Fields, Hook and Motley properties, to submit offers to sell conservation easements.  The ultimate purchase of these five easements will result in the protection of 583 acres and the elimination of 44 development lots.  In addition, these properties have almost 6,000 feet of state road frontage and more than 29,000 feet of protected stream and river frontage. Of the five properties, three have significant tourism value, two are in the Southwest Mountains Rural Historic District, three are working farms, two are in the watershed of the South Fork of the Rivanna River Reservoir and one is on a County scenic highway. 

 

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

For the first four years of the ACE program, in which the County acquired easements on sixteen properties and protected 3,777 acres, the County’s net cost was approximately $3,125,737 out of the County’s budgeted funds of $3,872,500.  Though a portion of unspent funds can be attributed to attrition (approved applicants withdrawing or not making offers to sell), $357,933 was leveraged from outside contributions and additional savings were realized from adjustments of easement value from the income grid (see Attachment “C”).  If all eleven applicants from FY 2004-05 and FY 2005-06 sell easements to the County as currently valued, the County will have acquired easements on twenty-seven properties and protected 5,497 acres at a cost of up to $6,012,099.  While the County’s budgeted funds for that period were $5,872,500, additional funding leveraged from outside contributions of $489,433 and any additional adjustments of easement value from the income grid will more than cover the difference. 

 

Funding for the purchase of conservation easements from both applicant classes comes from the CIP-Planning-Conservation budget (line-item 9010-81010-580409) and the CIP-Tourism-Conservation budget (line-item #9010-72030-580416), a budget previously approved by the Board to fund ACE properties with “tourism value”. 

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

The following recommendations are provided for action by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors:
1)       Adopt the attached resolution accepting the FY 2004-05 applicant pool landowners’ respective offers 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 authorize the County Executive to sign the final deed of easement for each property (see Attachment “D”).
2)       Accept the five appraisals by Pape and Company for applications from the FY 2005-06 applicant pool (see Attachment “A”).
3)       Approve extending invitations to submit offers to sell to the top five ranked FY 2005-06 applicants, which are the Huckleberry Hill Farm, Chester, Fields, Hook and Motley properties (see Attachment “B”).

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

A - Summary of ACE Appraisals for FY 2005-06

B - Final Ranking Order of ACE Applicants for FY 2005-06

C - Net Acquisition Costs for ACE Easements

D - ACE Resolution Accepting Offer to Sell Conservation Easements to the County

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