Project Name:

AFD2008-00004 Free Union AF District Review

Staff: Scott Clark

Planning Commission Public Hearing: September 9, 2008


Board of Supervisors Public Hearing: October 8, 2008


Proposal:  Periodic review of the Free Union AF district.

Comprehensive Plan Designation: Rural Areas


RECOMMENDATION: That the Commission recommend renewal of the District for another 10-year period.



AFD 2008-00004 Free Union District Review


The Albemarle County Code currently contains this description of the Free Union district:


Sec. 3-213 Free Union Agricultural and Forestal District.

The district known as the "Free Union Agricultural and Forestal District" consists of the following described properties: Tax map 7, parcels 6, 7, 8A, 9,

9A, 9B, 9B1, 9C; Tax map 16, parcels 4B, 4C, 13A, 13D, 15A, 15A3, 15C, 15E, 15G, 16B, 17, 26, 30B, 36, 37, 38, 39, 52B1, 52B2, 54; Tax Map 17,

parcels 8, 8B, 8C, 17C, 18H, 20A2, 22, tax map 29, parcel 1H (part). This district, created on September 21, 1988 for not more than 10 years and last

reviewed on September 9, 1998, shall be next reviewed prior to September 21, 2008. (Code 1988, § 2.1-4(m); Ord. 98-A(1), 8-5-98; Ord. 98-3(1), 9-9-98)


The district is located northwest of Free Union, from the area of Chapel Spring Lane northwest to Fox Mountain (see Attachment A for a map). The majority of the district is located in the Buck Mountain Creek watershed, which drains to the South Fork Rivanna River and the community’s largest surface-water supply. A small portion of the district drains to the South Fork Rivanna through Ward’s Creek and the Moorman’s River. Land cover in the district is largely forested on Fox Mountain and along Peavine Hollow, and more open closer to Free Union.


The district was created in 1988, and originally included 1,650 acres. In 1989, 30 more acres were added, and 733 acres were added in 1991. However, during the 1998 review, 1,012 acres (two parcels) were removed. The district now includes 1,400.94 acres.


Landowners may withdraw their parcels from districts by right during a renewal at anytime before the Board of Supervisors takes final action to continue, modify, or terminate the district. No landowners have requested withdrawal yet.


Agricultural and Forestal District Significance: Of the 1400.94 acres that comprise the Free Union District, 210.19 acres are enrolled in the Agricultural category of the land-use taxation program, while 770.93 acres are enrolled in the Forestry category, and 45.81 acres are in the Open Space category  Enrollment in these tax categories is an indicator of active rural land uses.


Land Use other than Agriculture and Forestry: In addition to agricultural and forestal uses, the Free Union district includes approximately 20 dwellings.


Local Development Patterns: The district is largely made up of large farm parcels, as are the surroundings. The area includes some land in smaller residential lots and an area zoned for Planned Residential Development, but is largely rural in character. Four parcels in the District, and many nearby, are under conservation easements.


Comprehensive Plan Designation and Zoning Districts: The Free Union district is entirely designated as Rural Areas in the Comprehensive Plan, and the parcels included in the district are zoned RA Rural Areas. 


Environmental Benefits: Conservation of this area will help maintain the environmental integrity of the County and aids in the protection of ground and surface water, agricultural soils, mountain resources, critical slopes, and wildlife habitat.


Time Period: The Free Union District is currently on a 10-year review cycle.


Agricultural/Forestal Districts Advisory Committee Recommendation: On July 28, 2008, the Committee recommended that the Free Union District be continued for another 10-year period.


Staff Recommendation: That the Planning Commission recommend renewal of the Free Union District for a 10-year period.




  1. Free Union district map

 Return to October 1 memo