Project Name: AFD2009-28; AFD2009-29 Keswick AFD Additions

Staff: Eryn Brennan, Senior Planner

Planning Commission Public Hearing: November 10, 2009

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing: December 2, 2009

Proposal: Additions to the Keswick Agricultural and Forestal District

Comprehensive Plan Designation: Rural Areas

RECOMMENDATION: That the Planning Commission recommend approval of the additions to the Keswick Agricultural and Forestal District.





The Albemarle County Code currently contains this description of the District:


Sec. 3-219 Keswick Agricultural and Forestal District.

The district known as the "Keswick Agricultural and Forestal District" consists of the following described properties: Tax map 63, parcels 39, 39A, 39B, 40, 42A; tax map 64, parcels 5, 7, 7A, 8, 8A, 9, 10 10A, 10B, 10C, 10D, 11 12, 13, 13A, 14; tax map 65, parcel 13; tax map 79, parcel 46; tax map 80, parcels 1, 2, 2A, 3A, 3A1, 3G, 3H, 3I, 4, 61D, 88, 114A, 115, 164, 169, 169A, 169C, 169C1, 174, 176, 176A, 182, 182A, 183, 183A, 190, 192, 194; tax map 81, parcels 1, 8A, 15A6, 15B, 63. This district, created on September 3, 1986 for not more than ten years and last reviewed on November 3, 2004, shall next be reviewed prior to November 3, 2014.

(10-12-94; 4-12-95; 8-13-97; Code 1988, 2.1-4(e); Ord. 98-A(1), 8-5-98; Ord. 04-3(3), 11-3-04)


The District is located in the area north of Keswick (Attachment A). The district is characterized by evergreen and deciduous forest, open pasture, agricultural fields, hedgerows, as well as occasional residential and agricultural buildings.


The District was created in 1986, and originally included 5,412.03 acres. An additional 22 parcels and 1,545.97 acres were added to the District between 1991 and 2002. However, during the 1994 and 2004 reviews, 636.59 acres were removed. The District now includes 56 parcels and 6,321.41 acres (Attachment B).

Agricultural and Forestal District Significance: Of the 6,321.40 acres that comprise the Keswick District, 233.66 acres are enrolled in the Forestry category of the land-use taxation program, and 728.03 acres are enrolled in the Agriculture category.


Land Use other than Agriculture and Forestry: In addition to agricultural and forestal uses, the Keswick District includes approximately 80 dwellings.


Local Development Patterns: The District primarily consists of large forested parcels and large farm parcels. Several parcels in the District are under conservation easements (Attachment C).


Comprehensive Plan Designation and Zoning Districts: The Keswick District is entirely designated as Rural Areas in the Comprehensive Plan, and the parcels included in the District are zoned RA Rural Areas. The parcels adjoining the parcels in the District are all zoned RA Rural Areas as well (Attachment C).


Environmental Benefits: The District includes woodland and agricultural fields. Protecting and preserving these properties in an Agricultural and Forestal District will help protect forest and rich farm land, which the Comprehensive Plan and Rural Areas Zoning Ordinances seek to preserve.  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, and wildlife habitat. Portions of the Keswick District are located in the North Fork Rivanna River-Flannigan Branch, Upper Rivanna River, Mechunk Creek, and Middle Rivanna River watersheds (Attachment C).


Time Period: The Keswick District is currently on a 10-year review cycle. The District is scheduled to be reviewed on November 3, 2014.



Two applications have been submitted requesting to add six parcels to the Keswick Agricultural and Forestal District, in accordance with Chapter 3, Sections 3-101, 3-201, 3-203 and 3-215 of the Albemarle County Code, which allows for additions of land to Agricultural and Forestal Districts.  The Keswick Agricultural & Forestal District was created on September 3, 1986, and was last reviewed on November 3, 2004. The District currently includes 56 parcels and 6,321.40 acres. The proposed addition of six parcels totaling 453.37 acres would increase the total number of acres in the Keswick District to 6,774.77.     


The parcels, Tax Map 48, Parcels 30D, 30, 30B, 30A, 30E, and 30C, are south of Stony Point Pass and north of Fosters Branch Road (Attachment A).


The parcels are zoned Rural Areas with agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses as the preferred land use and includes a residential density of .5 unit per acre.  The Comprehensive Plan identifies these parcels as Rural Areas; focusing on the preservation and protection of agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources, including a residential density of .5 units per acre.


Agricultural and Forestal Districts Advisory Committee Recommendation: On October 19, 2009, the Agricultural and Forestal District Advisory Committee recommended approval of the proposed additions to the Keswick Agricultural and Forestal District.


Staff Recommendation:

Staff recommends that the Planning Commission recommend approval of the proposed additions to the Keswick Agricultural and Forestal District.



A.     Keswick District - Proposed Addition

B.     Keswick District - History

C.     Keswick District - Conservation Easements & Zoning

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