Board supports easement
The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion to send a letter to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) in support of designating 120 acres of land along Route 15 as a conservation easement. The land, owned by Tim Tharpe, was designated as a potential spot for residential development by the 2014 Comprehensive Plan for Future Land Use.
If approved by the VOF to be a conservation easement, the land cannot be developed while under that designation. Prior to the vote, Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett said there would be a 99 percent chance that the land would never be developed.
“You can take it out (of that designation), there is a process for taking it out,” Bartlett said, but added that “I don’t know of any that have ever been done successfully, because what you do is you have to pay back all the taxes that you have been forgiven, both federal and state.”
Lockett District Supervisor and Chairman Robert M. “Bobby” Jones said he had looked back at the comprehensive plan and wondered why they hadn’t left the land as agricultural in the plan.
“It wouldn’t change any of the county’s involvement with the land,” Jones said of the conservation easement. “It would just be the property owner, he couldn’t
develop it. (He could) maybe designate a couple building lots, and that’d be it.”
Bartlett said the land has been a farm for many years. He also said VOF won’t designate the land as a conservation easement unless it is consistent with the county’s comprehensive plan, which can be reviewed at any time but is required to be updated every five years by the state.