PRESERVE agricultural resources
Citizens for Fauquier County is devoted to preserving the rural agricultural character of Fauquier County, using tools such as conservation easements and Purchase of Development Rights (PDRs) to protect land that might otherwise be subject to residential development.
Any housing development in the midst of land that has been farmed for generations undermines the cohesiveness of agricultural communities. Land taken out of production in favor of subdivisions also represents an increased tax burden to fund schools, roads and public safety. Loudoun County, which 15 years ago strongly resembled Fauquier, builds a school every year to keep up with demand from new homeowners. Prince William County, once known as Washington’s dairy, is a model of suburban sprawl.
Fauquier County, virtually alone among counties in the Washington metropolitan area, embraces slow growth to keep property taxes stable and predictable. Subdivisions do not offset taxpayer dollars for expanded government services. To put this another way, each new house in Fauquier would have to be valued at $700,000 to avoid sharp tax increases to pay for schools, transportation, police officers and fire fighters.
Conservation easements protect land for future generations. Fauquier County has over 100,000 acres under conservation, the most in the Commonwealth. The PDR program, funded by the state and county, pays farmers to take land ripe for development permanently off the market. Farmers still own the land and may use it for agricultural purposes. CFFC has always maintained that residential development should be confined to Fauquier’s service districts, as spelled out in the Comprehensive Plan.