Conservation Easements and the Benefits of Being Surrounded by Them

High Fields farm is for sale in Greene County VirginiaI’m standing with clients gazing out over a beautiful landscape, lush pastures dotted with angus, a trout stream rushing below and the Blue Ridge mountains rising above it all…perfect. But, what might happen at that farm straight ahead or what could happen to that farm just downstream? How many houses could they build? How many townhomes?

The acreage is about 75% open and currently used for grazing cattle and making hay.“Things have changed so much where we’re coming from. It used to be country and now there are stoplights, strip malls, fast food places and traffic. How can we be sure that won’t happen here?”

In most cases you can rely on local zoning ordinances that will describe exactly how property can be used and sub-divided in various zoning categories. In a growth area, dense residential development is encouraged while in agricultural zoning, it is typically more restrictive with allocated division rights and minimum acreage requirements. It’s important for buyers to take a look at zoning maps and regulations which are different in each county to see how the property they are interested in might be affected by it’s surroundings.

High Fields 128 acres for sale with stocked trout streamOne way to be absolutely confident that your surroundings will not change is to find that rare property that is completely surrounded by properties under conservation easement. Fortunately for those of us who appreciate the unspoiled countryside, there are several pockets of farms and estates where land owners have dedicated easements to conservation groups like the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, Piedmont Environmental Council or the Sierra Club. These easements limit subdivision of properties and building rights in perpetuity in order to maintain the rural nature of the area.

High Fields enjoys an extraordinary setting on a high knoll overlooking the famed South River Valley of Greene County.There are several farm properties on the market right now that have conservation easements on them. The easements are customized for each owner and each property so they need to be examined carefully. What is hard to find is a property that is completely surrounded by protected properties so every aspect of the subject property is safe from development forever.
The home, with attached garage, finished basement and pool enjoys incredible views and an ideal location surrounded by period homes and farming estates.High Fields Farm in the South River Valley of Greene county is just such a property. The 128 acres has frontage on the South River, a popular trout stream and rises up to an elevated plateau where a lovely single story brick home enjoys panoramic views over the valley to the Blue Ridge beyond. Most of the acreage is gently rolling pasture for cattle or hay with about 30 acres in nice hardwoods reaching to the top of a small mountain. The home has been completely re-imagined and offers a wide open floor plan while reveling in pristine retro baths and fixtures.

High Fields is also part of this concerted neighborhood effort to protect this entire valley and has its own conservation easement with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. The easement will allow the property to be sub-divided one time and a new residence can be built on the divided parcel if desired. The existing home which is perfectly suited to luxurious downsizing can also be modified as desired.

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Taurus

Hello! I’m Taurus. Why would you want to live in the city when you could live on a beautiful place like this?

Just look around, nothing but good food growing out of the ground, beautiful girls everywhere I look and the Blue Ridge Mountains! Gorgeous! Right across the road from me is a vineyard that makes a beautiful Cab Franc! How can you beat that? These nice humans that take care of all my wants and needs live in a nice warm farmhouse and seem pretty happy too. You could have all this if you wanted and who wouldn’t?

I’ve got almost 82 acres to roam around on. There’s a nice little pond where I can look at this great blue heron and watch him catch fish. Sometimes people come out here and walk around tip toeing around the..you know. ha ha. They think I’m scary..ha ha All I have to do is blow through my nose and they run. ha ha. They probably wouldn’t do that well here. This place needs someone who loves the land like I do. They need to look at the dirt here. It’s good dirt. I can tell from the way it tastes and the way the grass tastes. yummm. They should know that you could grow anything here in this dirt. Grapes would be good. Hay would be good. I like horses. They’re pretty. Not very strong like me but they’re pretty. They’d like it here too. They could run all over the place and if the people wanted to ride them they could ride out and about forever. I wish I could open gates like they can. I’d go right over to that big barn and eat all that hay. Oh well, I thought you might like to hear about this place from a different perspective. It’s all about the land you know. That works for me. Happy New Year, everyone.

Oh yes, Call John. He’s cool. 434-981-3011.

Octonia Highlands Farm
MLS 552484 >
Property Brochure >
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Your place in the country

What does it look like, your place in the country? Is it a tiny cabin in the mountains beside a trout stream? Is it a grand manor with manicured grounds? Maybe it’s an old farmhouse with plenty of room for your horses, cows and chickens. For those of us who imagine a country home as the culmination of and reward for a long and busy career, visions of quiet sunrises and sunsets, the sounds of a rooster in the morning and tree frogs in the evening float through our consciousness more and more often as the reality grows nearer and nearer.

farmhouse-sunrise-barns

Most of my clients are living in the city or suburbs and either approaching retirement or contemplating a career that allows them to work virtually anywhere they wish. Hustle and bustle, traffic jams and twelve hour days have gotten them where they are and now allows them a choice. Some choose the country and the opportunity to surround themselves with the things of the earth rather than the things of man.

traffic-and-country-road

I never tire of hearing the dreams as they spill out. “She’s always wanted her own horse” “He’s always wanted a John Deere tractor”. Fortunately, these are attainable dreams. Whether it be a dream of starting a vineyard, running a B&B, raising horses or growing organic food for a farm to table business, there are country properties, large and small, grand or modest that are ripe for the picking this fall in the beautiful Virginia countryside surrounding Charlottesville and the University of Virginia.

woman-with-horse-and-man-on-tractor

Here’s a wonderful new offering in the spectacular South River Valley of Greene County just north of Charlottesville. With 81 acres of prime farmland, a fully renovated 1900’s farmhouse and magnificent views in every direction, Octonia Highlands Farm has unlimited potential. It is located adjacent to an award winning vineyard , is all fenced for horse and cattle and has stocked pond.

octonia highland farm for sale - home entranceoctonia highlands view from the front porchentrance to octonia highland farmOctonia Highland Farm, MLS 552484 >
Property Brochure (PDF, 566kb) >