Acquisition of Conservation Easements (ACE) Ranking Order for FY 2007-08 Applicant Class




Request approval to appraise seven properties from FY 2007-08 ACE applicant pool




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







May 7, 2008


ACTION:                INFORMATION:   



  ACTION:   X          INFORMATION:   











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 for purchase is appraised by an independent appraiser chosen by the County.


The Acquisition of Conservation Easements (ACE) Program received fourteen (14) applications for the October 31, 2007, Round 8 deadline (FY 2007-08).  Four of these applications (Rives, Barksdale, Rushia, and Jensen/Barnett) were re-enrolled properties from last year’s application cycle.  Given available funding, 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 8 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 8 of the ACE Program (Attachment A).  These results were presented to the ACE Committee at its meeting on March 31, 2008. 



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

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



The evaluation of the fourteen applications from Round 8 indicates that nine (9) properties scored high enough to be eligible for ACE funding.  With $1,627,000 of appropriated funding available for this class, the ACE Committee believes the ACE program can acquire the top 4 properties.  Based on the final ranking order and eligibility status of the Round 8 applicants, the ACE Committee recommends that the Board of Supervisors approve appraisals for the seven (7) highest ranked properties: Anderson, Garnett, Hudson (Michael), Riddervold, Dutnell, Hudson (Fred) and Thurman.  Although the total ACE budget for FY 2007-08 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. 


The acquisition of easements on the top seven ranked properties would eliminate 73 development rights and result in the protection of the following resources: 


  • 1,151.23 acres of farm and forestland, of which 689 acres are “prime” farm and forestland

  • ·        
    11,553 feet of state road frontage  
    21,159 feet of protected stream and river frontage (with 1,333 feet on the Moorman’s River – a state scenic river)
    16,623 feet of common boundary with other protected lands
    Four of the seven properties have significant tourism value
    Four of the seven properties are productive, working farms



    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.”  Staff will continue to pursue outside funding sources to supplement the ACE   Program funding.  Potential sources of outside funding include the Office of Farmland Preservation, the Preservation Trust Fund, and the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation. 



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


    1)       Approve the final ranking order for Round 8 (FY 2007-08) as shown on Attachment A and identify the Anderson, Garnett, Hudson (Michael), Riddervold, Dutnell, Hudson (Fred) and Thurman properties as those on which it seeks to purchase conservation easements; and

    2)       Authorize appraisals for the Anderson, Garnett, Hudson (Michael), Riddervold, Dutnell, Hudson (Fred) and Thurman properties.



    A – Ranking Order of ACE Applicants from Round 8 (FY 2007-08)


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