Vint Hill Leadership Takes Active Role In Local Conservation

Announcements of new businesses coming to Vint Hill—from cloud-computing giant OVH to the new veterans’ care center and more—bring a sense of accomplishment to the team behind the community’s transformation. As exciting as change can be, however, there are times when keeping things just as they are brings the most satisfaction.

Recently, several members of the team behind Vint Hill finalized a deal to put more than 150 acres they own near Opal, in central Fauquier County, into a conservation easement. The move meant that 67 development rights would be replaced by the right to have one home and farm-related buildings. It also meant that more than 40 acres of wetlands and 100 acres of woodlands would be left undisturbed.

Counting the Opal land, more than 200 acres have been put into conservation easements in the last four years by members of the Vint Hill leadership team. The moves have wiped out development rights for about 200 houses, preserving pristine, open land in the process.

In early 2016, a group finalized an agreement to preserve a 54-acre tract of former Civil War battlefield near New Baltimore. The land had been zoned for many years for housing, including 95 single-family homes and 20 apartments, and commercial development.

In November 2013, a group bought 3.6 acres at the corner of Routes 29 and 215, where the former Ted’s Tack Shack sits. That land, a potentially lucrative spot for a business serving both locals and drivers using Route 29, will not be developed.

Protecting pieces of land like these aligns with a countywide objective to protect historic sites, open space and farmland while using the most suitable land in established service districts to accommodate community services and absorb growth. And while such deals bring tax benefits to the property owners, those revenues usually pale in comparison to the amounts that commercial and residential developers would offer to build on the land.

“Preserving land like the Opal tract and the Bishop’s Run battlefield in New Baltimore helps meet the county’s goal of maintaining a rural character while accommodating growth in the right places—our service districts,” said Ed Moore, president of Vint Hill Village, LLC and a long-time Fauquier County resident. “We take our roles as land stewards very seriously, seeking to balance commercial opportunities with what aligns with the big-picture goals that our county leaders and other key stakeholders have set for our region.”