COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Acceptance of FY 2006-07 landowners’ offers to sell conservation easements

 

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Adopt resolution accepting FY 2006-07 landowners’ offers to sell conservation easements

 

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

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

 

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

 

AGENDA DATE:

March 5, 2008

 

     ACTION:                            INFORMATION:    

 

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

    ACTION:   x                        INFORMATION:    

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:    Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

 

BACKGROUND:

On September 5, 2007, the Board of Supervisors approved all seven appraisals from the FY 2006-07 class of applicants and approved extending invitations to acquire easements on the two highest ranked properties – Strawberry Hill Farm and the Clayton Farm 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 the owner’s 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.

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Goal 2: Protect the County’s Natural Resources.

Goal 4: Effectively Manage the County’s Growth and Development

 

DISCUSSION:

The County has received offers to sell conservation easements from the owners of Strawberry Hill Farm and Clayton Farm. The Strawberry Hill Farm easement will be co-held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) and the Clayton Farm easement will be co-held by the Public Recreation Facilities Authority (PRFA).

 

Owner                                    Tax Map-Parcel Number                    Easement Value        Grant                Co-holder      DR’s Eliminated

Strawberry Hill Farm           TM 50, Parcel 45 (329.920 acres)    $1,130,290                 $565,000         VOF                        16

(Cismont)

 

Clayton Farm                        TM 56, Parcel 69 (228.500 acres)    $1,429,350                 $400,000         PRFA                      10

(Crozet)

 

Acquisition of the Strawberry Hill Farm and Clayton Farm easements would result in the following resource conservation benefits: 

 

 

A summary of all the conservation values protected by the ACE Program after seven rounds of applications is found in Attachment C.  This attachment also shows the conservation values for each of the seven classes. 

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

The purchase of these easements will be funded by $1,387,543 appropriated by the Board for the ACE class of FY 2006-07, $93,041 in unused funds carried over from previous years, and $965,000 of supplemental matching funds to be received from the Virginia Office of Farmland Preservation and the Preservation Trust Fund.  The Office of Farmland Preservation will provide at least $400,000 in funds for the purchase of the Clayton Farm easement and the Preservation Trust Fund will provide $565,000, or 50% of the cost, for acquiring the Strawberry Hill Farm easement.  The total funds available for acquiring the two easements will be approximately $2,445,584.

 

Since the total cost for acquiring all seven easements from this applicant pool exceeds the FY 2006-07 ACE budget, the Board, at its September 5, 2007 meeting, accepted the ACE Committee’s recommendation to purchase easements on the two highest ranked properties – Strawberry Hill Farm and Clayton Farm.  Even with the supplemental matching funds from the state agencies, there are inadequate funds available to pay the full easement value for Clayton Farm.  However, the owner of Clayton Farm has agreed to sell the easement for $1,315,350, which is $114,000 less than the full easement value.

 

Funding for the purchase of conservation easements comes from the CIP-Planning-Conservation budget (line-item 9010-81010-580409) and the CIP-Tourism-Conservation budget (line-item #9010-72030-580416) which funds ACE properties with “tourism value.”  

 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

Staff recommends that the Board adopt the attached Resolution (Attachment A) accepting the applicants’ offers to sell conservation easements for Strawberry Hill Farm and Clayton Farm to the County for the prices specified and subject to the terms and conditions contained in the proposed deeds of easement, and authorize the County Executive to sign the final deed of easement for each property.

 

ATTACHMENTS

A – Resolution Accepting the Land Owners’ Offers to Sell

B – Ace Easement Summary

C – Summary of Acquisition Cost & Resource Protection for ACE Program

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