Land Use Program
County Code - Chapter 21 - Taxation / Article III - Real Estate Taxes
Division 3 - Special Assessments for Agricultural, Horticultural, Forest or Open Space Real Estate
The purpose of the Land Use Program is to further the public interest by encouraging the preservation of land, to conserve and protect the County's natural resources, to protect safe water supplies, and to promote orderly land use planning and development.
The Land Use Program is a tax deferral, not a discount. The assessment of the land is based on the use value and not the fair market value. The tax deferral amount will be repaid with interest if the use of the land changes.
Four Categories That Qualify for the Land Use Program
When devoted to the bona fide production for commercial sale of plants and animals or plant and animal products useful to man under uniform standards prescribed by the Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, or when devoted to and meeting the requirements and qualifications for payments or other compensation pursuant to a soil conservation program under an agreement with an agency of the federal government. Requiring 5 acres minimum in agricultural use.
- Virginia State Code requires a minimum of five contiguous (unimproved or more) acres. One acre is excluded for a house-site (if dwelling exists) or a proposed house-site. The remaining five acres or more may qualify for Land Use taxation, and
- The property must have a five year previous history of continuous farming or horticultural activity before qualifying on the sixth year. If land is left vacant for one year or more, the farm history must begin again for five continuous years, and
- The farm must produce either 1/2 of the county average in crops or meet the minimum animal requirements. The entire farm must be qualified with adequate livestock: One mature cow, five goats, five sheep, or five swine, one hundred chickens, and/or sixty-six turkeys per every five acres for twelve months. Horses can qualify the land only if they are being used for breeding or a boarding business.
When devoted to the bona fide production for sale of fruits of all kinds, including grapes, nuts and berries, vegetables, nursery and floral products under uniform standards prescribed by the Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, or when devoted to and meeting the requirements and qualifications for payments or other compensation pursuant to a soil conservation program under an agreement with an agency of the federal government. Requiring 5 acres minimum.
When devoted to tree growth in such quantity and so spaced and maintained as to constitute a forest area under standards prescribed by the Virginia State Forester. Requiring 20 acres minimum in forest use.
When so used as to be provided or preserved for park or recreational purposes, conservation of land or other natural resources, floodways, historic or scenic purposes, or assisting in the shaping of the character, direction, and timing of community development or for the public interest sand consistent with the local land use plan under uniform standards prescribed by the Director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Requires 5 acres minimum in Open Space use unless the local ordinance specifies otherwise.
Important: Change in use, acreage or zoning results in roll back taxes/penalty
- Whenever land which has qualified for assessment and taxation according to use has been converted to a non-qualifying use or rezoned to a more intensive use at the request of the owner or his agent, that land is subject to the roll-back tax as provided in the Code of Virginia, Section 58.1-3237(D).
- In the event of a change in use, acreage or zoning the property owner must report such change to the Commissioner of Revenue's Office within sixty days of said change.
Important Dates to Remember
|Documents||Filing Date||Filing Fee||Late Filing||Late Filing Fee|
|Revalidation Applications||September 1 through December 5||No Fee||December 6 through December 31||$5|
|New Applications||September 1 through November 1||$15 up to 100 acre|
(additional $.10 per acre over 100 acres)
|November 2 through December 31||$5|
In the year of a general reassessment, new applications may be accepted within thirty days of the mailing of the new assessment notices.