Community Development  |  Rural Area

Welcome to our web site on rural area activities in Albemarle County. The purpose of this website is to bring you information and to keep you up-to-date on important programs and initiatives involving the County's rural areas.

Rural Area Plan Adobe Acrobat Document of the Comprehensive Plan (adopted March 2, 2005; amended June 10, 2015)

Comprehensive Plan Map Adobe Acrobat Document

Protecting Albemarle County's Rural Spaces Adobe Acrobat Document

Conservation Easements Map
Adobe Acrobat Document

Public Recreational Facilities Authority Information Adobe Acrobat Document
The Public Recreational Facilities Authority, or PRFA, is a public body that accepts, holds, and administers conservation easements located in Albemarle. The PRFA is managed by members appointed by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.

Acquisition of Conservation Easements (ACE)
The Acquisition of Conservation Easements program was designed to provide a financially attractive way for lower income landowners to protect family farms in Albemarle County and their unique open space resources. It represents an opportunity for landowners to sell voluntarily a conservation easement to a public agency to be held in trust for perpetuity.

Natural Heritage Committee
The Natural Heritage Committee is an advisory committee that maintains the County's Biodiversity Assessment, advises the Board of Supervisors, the Planning Commission, and County staff on applying biodiversity information to land-use decision-making, and supports biodiversity education in the County.

Agricultural & Forestal Districts
Agricultural and Forestal Districts are rural conservation areas reserved for the production of agricultural products, timber, and the maintenance of open space land as important economic and environmental resources. Creating or joining an existing district is voluntary. The creation of a district is initiated by a landowner or group of landowners as a mutual undertaking with the local government.


What Are They?
An Open Space Use Agreement is a recorded agreement between a property owner and the County of Albemarle. The agreement restricts construction and development on the property for a fixed period of 4 to 10 years.
The purpose of the use agreement is to protect resources that are important to the community, as described in the Comprehensive Plan   Each use agreement should help achieve at least one of these goals:
  • Conservation of land
  • Conservation of natural resources and historic resource
  • Protection of scenic area
  • Assist with shaping the character, direction and timing of community development
  • Park or recreational purpose
  • Or other uses that serves the public interest by the preservation of open space land
How Do I Apply?
Open Space Use Agreement applications are processed by the Community Development Department. Please feel free to contact the department for more information or for help with submitting your application.
Applications for Open Space Use Agreements should be submitted by October 31 of any given year. Staff cannot guarantee that applications submitted after that date will be completed before the end of that year.
How Does The Use Agreement Affect My Real-Estate Tax?
Land under an Open Space Use Agreement may qualify for Land Use Tax under the Open Space category. Contact the Real Estate Assessor’s office for more information on qualifying for this tax program. Signing an Open Space Use Agreement does not automatically change your tax rate—you must still apply for Land Use Tax through the Assessor’s office after the use agreement is recorded. Land Use Tax Information


Bed & Breakfasts

Home Occupations

Farm Stands, Farm Sales, & Farmers' Markets

Farm Wineries

Agricultural Operations and Farm Breweries

Country Stores

If you have any questions or need more information, please email
Scott Clark or phone him at 434-296-5832 ext. 3249

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