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Fairfax44-acre Great Falls Parcel will stay in agricultural district

44-acre Great Falls Parcel will stay in agricultural district

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A nearly 44-acre parcel in Great Falls, which since 1988 has been shielded from redevelopment under an agreement with Fairfax County, will continue to be preserved for at least eight more years.

The Board of Supervisors in early August unanimously approved an application from 1999 Land Acquisitions LLC for an additional eight-year term renewal of the nearly 44-acre Rhinehart local agricultural-and-forestal (A&F) district at 1013B Leigh Mill Road.

The site is zoned Residential-Estate, meaning it is intended for low-density residential use. Forty acres of the property are used for horse pasture; the rest is undeveloped woodland. In addition, 17.11 of its acres are in floodplain and 22.22 acres in an environmental-quality corridor. No logging operations occur at the site, county staff said.

The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District prepared a plan for soil-and-water conservation at the property. The report recommended management of nutrients, pests and the site’s resource-protection area, as well as prescribed grazing, record keeping and waste management.


The property contributes to the county’s character and provides important natural and ecological resources that contribute environmentally and aesthetically, said applicant’s representative Sheri Akin.

“It is a beautiful site that helps protect valuable open space, preserves mature trees and provides resident horses of the county [with] pasturelands within the county,” she said.

The county first established the Rhinehart property as an A&F district in July 1988 and renewed it for another eight years in November 1996. The current owner bought the site in 2000 and renewed the district again in February 2005 and May 2014.

No substantive changes have occurred at the site since the last A&F district renewal, officials said. The owner lives elsewhere and has an agreement to let an adjacent resident maintain and use the property for that person’s horses.

A&F districts are intended to encourage landowners to preserve their properties from development for the length of the district’s term, typically with reduced real-estate-tax assessments as an incentive. The county’s Department of Tax Administration independently determines if properties meet those guidelines.

The county assessed the property under the A&F zoning this year at $846,270, including $738,290 for the land and $107,980 for a vacant, 936-square-foot single-family home on the site.

The house, which was built in 1940 and had an addition put on it in 1985, is in poor condition, according to the county’s staff report. The property also has a barn and silo.

“The renewal of this Agricultural and Forestal District would continue to be compatible with the existing and planned very low-density residential character for the site and the surrounding area,” the county’s staff report read.

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