COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

ACE; Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services grant for easement acquisition

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Authorize the County Executive to execute Inter-governmental Agreement with Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Davis, Herrick, Cilimberg, Goodall

 

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

 

AGENDA DATE:

February 4, 2009

 

ACTION:                   INFORMATION: 

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

 

  ACTION:  X              INFORMATION:

 

ATTACHMENTS:   Yes

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

BACKGROUND:

The County has been awarded a grant of $49,900 in state matching funds from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (“VDACS”) Office of Farmland Preservation under a program established by the General Assembly in 2007 to provide funds for the preservation of working farms and forest lands.  The County was awarded a similar grant of $403,219.75 last year.  However, the 2008 General Assembly reduced the total pool of funding for this grant program in

FY 09 from $4.25 million to $500,000 statewide. Albemarle County was one of only 11 localities in the state to receive such a grant this year.

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

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

 

DISCUSSION:

VDACS has requested that the County enter into the Intergovernmental Agreement (the “Agreement”) (Attachment A) as a condition of receiving the grant funding.  While the County has yet to identify the specific easement(s) to which it would apply this grant, it intends to apply this grant toward the next qualifying easement.  This grant will remain available to (partially) reimburse any qualifying purchase for up to two years from the date of the Agreement.  The key provisions of the Agreement are summarized below. 

 

The Agreement would obligate VDACS to set aside the grant amount in a restricted account, and reimburse the County for its reimbursable costs in the purchase of conservation easement(s).  The County’s funds would be restricted exclusively for the County’s qualifying costs for a period of up to two years.

 

The Agreement also would restrict conversion or diversion of a subject property from open-space use, unless the conversion or diversion satisfied the requirements of the Open Space Land Act.  Conversion or diversion of land is permitted under the Open-Space Land Act in limited circumstances upon the concurrence of the County and the Public Recreational Facilities Authority and upon the placement of substitute land of equal or greater value and quality under an open-space easement.  The Agreement would entitle VDACS to reimbursement of its pro rata share of the purchase price if conversion or diversion ever occurred. 

 

In exchange for the state’s grant commitment, the Agreement would obligate the County:

·         to appropriate matching funds equal to the grant amount for the purchase of a subject easement,

·         to apply the grant funds to the purchase of the easement,

·         to provide VDACS with annual progress reports (while the grant Agreement is in force) describing the County’s efforts to obtain easements on other working farms, and its programs for public outreach, stewardship and monitoring, and measuring the effectiveness of the County’s efforts to bring working farms under easement.

·         to maintain sufficient title insurance for the subject easement(s), which is already a standard County practice,

·         to allow VDACS the opportunity to review easement instruments and the title insurance policy prior to closing,

·         to receive copies of the recorded easement instrument after closing,

·         to provide notice to VDACS if the County receives an application to convert or divert a subject easement from its permitted easement uses, and

·         to enforce the terms and conditions of the deed of easement.

 

Staff has reviewed the terms of this year’s proposed Intergovernmental Agreement between VDACS and the County, and finds its terms acceptable.

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

The County’s execution of the Intergovernmental Agreement would allow the County to receive $49,900 in state funding to apply to the ACE program.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Staff recommends that the Board authorize the County Executive to execute the Agreement on behalf of the County, provided that it is first approved as to form and content by the County Attorney.

 

ATTACHMENTS

A- Intergovernmental Agreement

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