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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
10/1/2022

4VAC5-20-20. Specific standards.

The specific standards for determining whether real estate will qualify for special assessment based on open-space use are as follows. The term "land" includes water, submerged land, wetlands, marshes, and similar properties.

A. Park or recreation uses. Lands that are provided or preserved for:

1. Any public, semi-public or privately-owned park, playground or similar recreational area, for public or community use, except any use operated with intent for profit.

Examples: Parks, play areas, athletic fields, botanical gardens, fishing or skating ponds; golf clubs, country clubs, swimming clubs, beach clubs, yacht clubs, scout camps; fairgrounds.

2. Golf courses operated for profit as a public service and having the park-like characteristics normally associated with a country club.

3. Buildings shall not cover more than 10% of the site.

4. Commercial recreational or amusement places, such as driving ranges, miniature golf courses, pony rides, trap shoots, marinas, motor speedways, drag strips, amusement parks and the like, shall not qualify.

B. Conservation of land or other natural resources. Lands that are provided or preserved for forest preserves, bird or wildlife sanctuaries, watershed preserves, nature preserves, arboretums, marshes, swamps and similar natural areas.

C. Floodways. Lands that are provided or preserved for:

1. The passage or containment of waters, including the floodplains or valleys and side slopes of streams that are or may be subject to periodic or occasional overflow, such as floodplains identified by engineering surveys by the U.S. Corps of Engineers or others, or by soil surveys or topographic maps. Floodways also include adjacent lands that should be reserved as additional channels for future floods due to increased runoffs.

2. Coastal lowlands, such as bays, estuaries or ocean shores, subject to inundation by storms or high tides.

3. Tidal and nontidal wetlands, such as swamps, bogs and marshes.

D. Wetlands as defined in § 58.1-3666 of the Code of Virginia.

E. Riparian buffers as defined in § 58.1-3666 of the Code of Virginia.

F. Historic or scenic areas. Lands that are provided or preserved for historic or scenic purposes are:

1. On the Virginia Landmarks Register or the National Register of Historic Places or contributing properties in an historic district listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register or the National Register of Historic Places. Information concerning properties on these registers maintained by the Department of Historic Resources can be obtained from the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

2. Properties protected by scenic or open-space easements.

3. Places designated or recommended as "Scenic" by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Department of Transportation, the General Assembly or other state agency subject in each case to a specific area description provided by the designating agency.

G. Assisting in the shaping of the character, direction and timing of community development, or for the public interest. Lands that are officially planned or approved by the local governing body to be left in a relatively natural and undeveloped state and that are provided or preserved for the purpose of shaping the locality into neighborhoods and communities, identifying their boundaries, insulating incompatible uses from one another, directing growth, controlling the rate or timing of growth or otherwise serving the public interest as determined by the local governing body. Examples:

Greenbelts, parkways and trailways,

Stream valleys,

Forests and farmlands,

Hilltops or hillsides,

Mountaintops and mountainsides,

Scenic vistas.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-104 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR215-01-01 § 2, eff. January 5, 1989; amended, Virginia Register Volume 14, Issue 24, eff. September 18, 1998.

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