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50 Years of Land Use Stewardship

Conservation and preservation are not about saying no to everything; they’re about saying yes to the right things. And to understand where and what to build, it’s essential that residents and officials consider the natural and historic value of the land in question. For 50 years, CFFC has been instrumental in conducting studies, hiring experts, creating reports, and educating the public about the remarkable assets of the ground beneath our feet.

Village and Settlement Survey

In 2002, when Fauquier County officials expressed interest in revising portions of the comprehensive plan as it applied to the county’s 42 villages and so-called settlements, CFFC jumped at the massive task. The effort to evaluate each area’s historical significance, soil and water limitations, transportation impacts and development pressures took 5 months and hundreds of hours of research. CFFC members visited each site and spoke with residents there to make sure no detail was spared. 

It was a job that would have cost the county tens of thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees. CFFC did it for free. “We need to protect these places before it’s too late,” Mimi Moore told the Fauquier Democrat at the culmination of the study. 

Moore and CFFC were indeed integral in protecting them: 21 of the 42 villages are now on the state and national registers of historic places, and more are under consideration. Better yet, officials and residents have tangible evidence of their import. 

Auburn Battlefields

During the 10-year battle over the Auburn Dam, one of CFFC’s main concerns about the project was that it would flood one of the county’s historic treasures — the Auburn Battlefields. Generals Lee and Meade clashed twice in this area near Catlett, also known as Coffee Hill. 

When the fight over the Auburn Dam was finally won, CFFC pursued National Battlefield status for the area by working with the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP). Through almost $50,000 in grants from the ABPP, CFFC hired a planner, historian, and archeologist to study the land and its historic structures, and to help apply for the national distinction. 

In 2011, the Department of the Interior listed the property on the National Register of Historic Places. CFFC received a $55,000 grant the same year to study Civil War troop movement along the Rappahannock River. 

“We need to protect these places before it's too late”

– Mimi Moore

In the last ten years, CFFC has played mediator in disputes over land use, helping winery owners and landowners forge a compromise for large events held in the county. The study conducted at Vint Hill helped officials settle on the kinds of development that should be considered at the former intelligence station.  


CFFC tracks every proposed rezoning and special exception to land use rules in the monthly CFFC Land Use Report, must reading for supervisors, planning officials and conservationists throughout the county. The report is free and is available at


For five decades, CFFC has worked on projects to protect resources as small as heron rookeries to the largest bodies of water in the county, collaborated to designate scenic routes and rural historic districts, and educate officials about the importance of green construction. From Somerville to Upperville, every acre of the county has a story, and CFFC is intent on telling each one.   

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