If you want to save the Rural Crescent and ensure a high-quality development area too, tonight's Conservation Forum is the place to be.
The Rural Crescent has been threatened since it was first adopted in 1998. With development nibbling at the edges, some have said it is more like a Rural Croissant that will disappear one bite at a time.
Properties slated for development, such as Bristow Village and South Market, intrude into the boundaries of the Rural Crescent, serving as 'set up' parcels for sewer lines and higher densities.
But the most significant threat to the Rural Crescent may be that Prince William County offers no choices for landowners other than to sell to developers.
Although Virginia has one of the best private land conservation tax incentives in the Nation, County government does not make this information available to landowners and rarely considers conservation opportunities in land use process.
During the past four years, Virginia conserved 400,000 acres of land. To the best of our knowledge, only 302 of these acres were in Prince William County, contributed by the conservation of Merrimac Farm, which protects our public drinking water supply and provides local residents with a high quality site for hunting, fishing and wildlife watching.
Governor McDonnell has made the conservation of an additional 400,000 acres a priority of his administration. We believe that support for the Governors initiative would benefit Prince William landowners and communities.
The Conservation Forum includes a bipartisan panel with local, state and federal officials as well as our local representative to Virginia’s Land Conservation Foundation, the state land conservation coordinator and the Executive Director of the Virginia Outdoor Foundation, the largest holder of private conservation easements statewide.
This is a unique opportunity to learn how Prince William can begin to take advantage of conservation incentives to protect our rapidly vanishing natural areas. I hope you can make time in you busy schedule to join us this evening.