COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Acquisition of Conservation Easements (ACE) Ranking Order for FY 2006-07 Applicant Class

 

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Request approval to appraise six properties from FY 2006-07 ACE applicant pool

 

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

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

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   YES

 

AGENDA DATE:

May 9, 2007

 

ACTION:                                 INFORMATION:   

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

     ACTION:   X                        INFORMATION:   

 

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:   YES

 

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

 

BACKGROUND:

Pursuant to sections A.1-110(G) and A.1-110(H) of the ACE ordinance, the Board of Supervisors reviews the list of ranked parcels submitted by the ACE Committee and identifies on which parcels it desires conservation easements.  Each conservation easement identified by the Board of Supervisors to be purchased is appraised by an independent appraiser chosen by the County.

 

The Acquisition of Conservation Easements (ACE) Program received nine (9) applications for the October 31, 2006, Round 7 deadline (FY 2006-07).  Three of these applications (Rives, Rushia, and Jensen/Barnett) were for re-enrolled properties from last year’s application cycle.  Due to budget constraints, the ACE Program was unable to acquire easements on these properties last year.  Since the recent application deadline, staff has evaluated each of the Round 7 properties according to the ranking evaluation criteria identified in the ACE ordinance.  These objective criteria include: open space resources; threat of conversion to developed use; natural, scenic and cultural resources; and County fund leveraging from outside sources.  Based on the results of the evaluation, staff has determined eligibility and a “final” ranking order for applicants from Round 7 of the ACE Program (Attachment A).  These results were presented to the ACE Committee at its April 17, 2007 meeting.  A general description of these properties is provided in Attachment B.  

 

 

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:

The evaluation of the nine applications from Round 7 indicates that all nine (9) properties scored high enough to be eligible for ACE funding.  Although only $1,387,543 of funding has been appropriated for this class plus a projected carryover of $29,066 from the previous budget cycle, a new source of matching funds has become available from the Office of Farmland Preservation.  Depending on the number of local programs that apply for the $4,250,000 of new funding, the ACE Program could receive up to $1,200,000.  To receive funding, a locality must provide: 1) certification of the local program elements based on the model elements in “A Model Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) Program for Virginia”; and 2) certification of the amount of matching funds that the locality will provide for that fiscal year.  Albemarle County can satisfy these certification requirements. 

 

The ACE Committee believes potential funding may exist to acquire at least 5 or 6 of the 9 eligible properties.  Based on the final ranking order and eligibility status of the Round 7 applicants, the ACE Committee recommends that the Board of Supervisors approve appraisals for the seven (7) highest ranked properties: Clayton, Anderson, Strawberry Hill Farm, McDaniel, Sacre, Barksdale, and Rives.  Although the total potential ACE budget for FY 2006-07 is insufficient for purchasing easements on all seven properties, the ACE Committee believes it is prudent to obtain appraisals on more properties than funding will allow, in the event that additional funding becomes available or some higher ranking applicants withdraw their application from the Program. 

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

There is no additional request for funding related to this action.  The future funding for the purchase of these potential conservation easements would come from both 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”.  Funding provided by the County would be supplemented by grants from the Office of Farmland Preservation.  Additional sources of outside funding that may be available to the ACE Program include the Office of Farmland Preservation and the Preservation Trust Fund. 

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Staff recommends that the Board of Supervisors, as recommended by the ACE Committee:

 

1)       Identify the Clayton, Anderson, Strawberry Hill Farm, McDaniel, Sacre, Barksdale and Rives properties as those on which it desires conservation easements;

2)       Approve the final ranking order for Round 7 (FY 2006-07) as proposed in Attachment A; and

3)       Authorize appraisals for the Clayton, Anderson, Strawberry Hill Farm, McDaniel, Sacre, Barksdale and Rives properties

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

A – Ranking Order of ACE Applicants from Round 7 (FY 2006-07)

B – General Description of Round 7 ACE Properties

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