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Back to the Rural Crescent

July 30 Public Meeting Review

Independent Hill Small Area Plan

March 7 2019 Forum

Speakers: Retain ‘rural crescent’ zoning rules
Prince William Times, March 12 2019

2016 PWCA Forum
The Rural Crescent: Fact or Fiction?
PWCA Press Release
Speaker Presentations

2014 Rural Crescent Study Report & Videos from PWCAs March 2015 Forum.

Grow Smart Prince William County It Can Happen Here

Mid-County Parks & Estates locationIn 1998 the Prince William County Board of Supervisors adopted a Comprehensive Plan that defined a protected rural area, known as the Rural Crescent. This border created an urban growth boundary, separating the Rural Crescent and the Development Area.

The purpose was to strengthen the County’s capacity to control urban sprawl and manage rapidly rising property taxes by directing infrastructure investments to the Development Area, where capital improvements are more cost effective and benefit more people.


New rezonings with new sewer lines to allow an excessive number of new houses, forcing the county to raise taxes, build schools and other public buildings where it is not cost-effective and worsening traffic congestion.

Increased Housing Densities through Cluster or Other Development: Redirects public investments for capital improvements away from the development area, where infrastructure improvements are more cost effective and benefit more people.

Tax Subsidized Sprawl: Many Rural Crescent soils cannot support higher density development without access to public sewer. Once access to public sewer is allowed, government has few, if any, tools to prevent higher density development from leapfrogging through the Rural Crescent.

Lack of Zoning Enforcement: Allowing industrial uses on lands planned and zoned for agriculture, and government failure to enforce existing zoning requirements to protect agricultural operations.


Low-density development in the Rural Crescent frees taxpayer funds for use in the Development Area where public investments directly benefit more people. Smart growth gives businesses the confidence and certainty they need to invest in Prince William. A robust rural area benefits communities and reduces the tax burden countywide.

Green Open Space Plan: Creates opportunities to meet open space needs, and connect and protect natural areas through the development process.

Purchase of Development Rights: Landowners sell their development rights to government agencies, permanently protecting a property from additional development. Landowners retain ownership and can sell the land for agricultural uses at conservation prices.

Conservation Easements: Landowners donate development rights to a land trust to permanently protect those properties from additional development. Landowners retain ownership of the land and receive an income tax credit for 40% of the value of donated land; unused credits can be sold. The land can be sold for agricultural uses at conservation prices.

Use Value Assessment Program: Virginia’s Program provides tax relief to agricultural, forestal, horticultural, and open space property owners. The program allows qualifying land to be taxed according to its use value, rather than its market value.

Rural Economic Development: Fauquier and Loudoun have demonstrated how to support agriculture and tourism related jobs.

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