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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources
Agency 5. Department Of Conservation And Recreation
Chapter 20. Standards for Classification of Real Estate As Devoted to Open Space Use under the Virginia Land Use Assessment Law
1/23/2022

4VAC5-20-10. General standards.

To qualify as an open-space use, real estate must meet the requirements of both this section and the specific standards contained in 4VAC5-30-20 of this chapter. The general standards are as follows:

A. Consistency with land use plan.

1. The open-space use of the property must be consistent with the land use plan of the county, city, or town which has been made and adopted officially in accordance with Article 4, Chapter 11, Title 15.1 of the Code of Virginia.

2. A land use consistent with the land use plan means a use that is consistent with areas or land use zones depicted on a map that is part of the land use plan, or that directly supports or is generally consistent with stated land uses, natural resources conservation or historic preservation objectives, goals or standards of the land use plan.

3. A property that is subject to a recorded perpetual conservation, historic or open-space easement held by any public body, or is part of an agricultural, a forestal or an agricultural and forestal district approved by local government, shall be considered to be consistent with the land use plan.

B. Minimum acreage.

1. Except as provided in subdivision B 2 of this section, real estate devoted to open-space use shall consist of a minimum of five acres.

2. If the governing body of any county, city or town has so prescribed by ordinance, real estate devoted to open space shall consist of a minimum of two acres when the real estate is:

a. Adjacent to a scenic river, a scenic highway, a Virginia byway or public property listed in the approved State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, also known as the Virginia Outdoors Plan (the Virginia Outdoors Plan can be obtained from the Department of Conservation and Recreation at 203 Governor Street, Suite 302, Richmond, VA 23219); or

b. Located in a county, city or town having a density of population greater than 5,000 per square mile.

C. Other requirements.

Real estate devoted to open-space use shall be:

1. Within an agricultural, a forestal or an agricultural and forestal district entered into pursuant to Chapter 36 of Title 15.1 of the Code of Virginia;

2. Subject to a recorded perpetual easement that is held by a public body and that promotes the open-space use classification as defined in § 58.1-3230 of the Code of Virginia; or

3. Subject to a recorded commitment entered into by the landowner with the governing body in accordance with 4VAC5-30-30 of this chapter.

D. Opinions.

In determining whether a property meets the general and specific standards for open-space use, the local assessing officer may request an opinion from the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation under the provisions of 4VAC5-30-40 of this chapter.

Statutory Authority

§§ 58.1-3230 and 10.1-104 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR215-01-01 § 1, eff. January 5, 1989.

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