A:  Rural Areas Comprehensive Plan Priority Implementation Measures – Update





Result – What it Means to Overall Program


Phasing of Development

Board Tabled Action

No change to rate of development in Rural Areas


Mandatory RPD

Board Tabled Action

Protection of resources with cluster development (RPD) is voluntary

(no priority)

(added by Board) MOD

Use some elements of MOD proposal for the entire RA:

Rural Areas Resource Protection formed out of MOD, resulting in additional protection of critical slopes (safe and convenient access) and requiring buffers for both intermittent and perennial  streams in entire RA. Extension of ownership for Family Divisions was approved. 


Conservation Programs

Strategic Plan goal to achieve 30,000 additional acres under easement; ACE funding increased FY 2007-FY2009 FY equivalent rate of one cent of the tax rate ($1.0 million to $1.62 million); reduced FY 2009-10 to


The recent reduction in ACE funding combined with the impacts of the economic downturn will make it very difficult to reach the Strategic Plan goal for acreage under easement.   Efforts are being focused on promotion and information for potential easement holders, along with reduced ACE funding.


RA Support Programs

Position not filled and  likely to be frozen for several years  

Anticipated programs/support services on hold; support to sustain local agriculture relies on community initiatives


Crossroads Communities / Alternative Uses

Country Stores ordinance approved

Additional considerations deferred due to limited staff resources.   Reevaluation of strategy anticipated with update of Rural Areas plan. 


Fiscal and Tax Tools

Land Use Tax Assessment re-validation is underway

Revalidation effort underway


B:   Other Implementation Categories  In addition to the priority initiatives listed above, additional Rural Areas implementation categories were also reviewed by the Board of Supervisors at the time the Plan was approved.  Some of these initiatives have been addressed at least to some degree.   These categories along with their updates are listed below:


·     Transportation-Rural Rustic Road     

-           Rural Rustic Roads program implemented and established as the preferred form of road paving in the RA

-           Board established that unpaved roads funds should be used for projects in the Development Area before any unpaved road funds are to be used to pave roads in the RA

-           State unpaved road funds not expected to be available for at least the next 6 years

·     Transfer of Development Rights

           -           State legislating enabling TDRs has been approved

-           A citizen committee has been reviewing a TDR concept; the committee’s comments/recommendations have not been formally issued to date.


·     Zoning and Subdivision Text Amendments Deferred

           -           Code amendments to protect biodiversity and historic resources 

           -           Adopt overlay districts to combine habitat corridors and stream buffers

-           Building site definitions that better protect important resources and debris flow hazard areas



In addition to the priority initiatives above, the County has addressed other strategy recommendations of the Rural Areas Plan since its adoption.


C:  Other Initiatives   Other Initiatives undertaken at the directive of the Board or through public requests/applications that related to RA Plan initiative:


·     Mountain Overlay District (MOD)

           -           Served as impetus for RA wide amendments to:

      strengthen regulations for Safe and Convenient Access

      adopt stream buffer regulations that are consistent throughout the County


·     Family Divisions

-           Subdivision Ordinance amended to extend ownership requirement for parcels subdivided using family division standards to 4 years before the division and 4 years after the division


·     Country Stores

           -           Ordinance amendments were approved to provide greater regulatory flexibility for both historic and newer country stores


·     Monticello Historic District

-           New zoning district created for Monticello and later expanded for Montalto


·     Agricultural/Forestal Districts

           -           Promotional program begun (brochure and newsletters) but currently on-hold due to loss of RA staff person (position frozen due to budget conditions)



D:  Conservation Easement Programs




A conservation easement marketing effort was launched in 2007 with funding provided by the Board of Supervisors with direction to county staff to work with other conservation easement holding agencies in the community to support easement donation efforts for ACE and other programs.


Current status of easements as of 12/31/08:




% of the Rural Areas

% of the whole County

All lands under easement




Shenandoah Nat’l Park




County Parks




Ragged Mtn Rec Area




Easements and Parks








Rural Areas




Development Areas




Total County





Major Activities to Date:

In response to the Board’s direction, county staff began meeting regularly with an

easement partnership which includes:


A marketing program was initiated by the easement partnership with two main objectives – (1) to build the Client (potential donor) pool and (2) to build public support and additional resources.  The program focused on several ways to accomplish those objectives:



The following are highlights of the outreach activities undertaken in the past two years:


Current Considerations:

In planning for future marketing activities, the partnership has identified the following considerations that will impact how outreach efforts move forward:


Future Activities:

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