The 1997 Virginia General Assembly created a fund (Va. Code Sections 10.1801-2), The Open-Space Lands Preservation Trust Fund, to assist landowners with the costs of conveying conservation easements and to purchase all or part of the value of the easements.
The Fund may reimburse the following costs:
- Legal costs
- Appraisal and other costs
- All or part of the easement's value
To be eligible, the easement must be perpetual in duration. Funding priority may be given to applications that:
- Seek cost reimbursement only
- Demonstrate financial need
- Cover a family-owned or operated farm
Does my Land Qualify?
The VOF's staff and Board of Trustees and the co-holder evaluate each potential easement for its scenic, scientific, natural, historic, recreational or open-space value using VOF's Guidelines. VOF Guidelines recommend an overall density of principal residences of one house per 100 acres or less, and that parcels of less than 100 acres permit no subdivision.
Who Holds the Easement?
The easements receiving Preservation Trust Fund allocations are conveyed to The Virginia Outdoors Foundation and a local co-holder. Valid co-holders include local government entities, Soil and Water Conservation Districts and local conservation organizations (such as the Piedmont Environmental Council.)
How to Apply:
The Open-Space Lands Preservation Trust Fund is currently unfunded. However, application forms are available from any Virginia Outdoors Foundation office or any local co-holder and should be returned to the VOF office in Richmond. Applications will be reviewed twice yearly for approval. Advisory Regional Boards appointed by the Governor review applications and recommend to VOF's Trustees applicants for funding on a competitive basis.