Prince William County Public Hearing on whether or not to close the Ag Forest District is scheduled:
May 15, 2018 at 7:30pm in the Board Chambers
The Prince William County Board of Supervisors is having a public hearing on May 15, 2018 on whether or not to close the Agricultural and Forestal District (Ag Forest District). It is imperative that this District remain open.
According to Virginia code (15.2-4401):
“It is state policy to encourage localities of the Commonwealth to conserve and protect and to encourage the development and improvement of their agricultural and forestal lands for the production of food and other agricultural and forestal products.” [View Full Text of Law Here]
Rural agricultural and forestry properties can not only coexist, but thrive alongside development. We must keep this critical district active to ensure land use diversity in PWC.
The Prince William County Agricultural and Forestal Districts Advisory Committee is appointed by the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) to advise the Planning Commission and the BOCS.
In a surprise move and with very little notice, the Planning Commission voted to close the Ag Forest District on April 18th—a mere week after the Advisory Committee made their decision. This district has been in place for approximately 20 years and deserves more than a quick and hasty action that didn’t even allow the affected land owners an opportunity to react or respond to the abrupt decision of the Advisory Committee and PWC Planning Commission.
With the recommendation to close, the BOCS will vote on May 15. Without citizen feedback, the BOCS is likely to rubber stamp this decision and close the Ag Forest District for good. This process is happening too fast and without any discussions of the alternatives to closing and it will affect the economic viability of our agricultural and forestal land throughout the county.
Virginia code goes on to say:
“It is also state policy to encourage localities of the Commonwealth to conserve and protect agricultural and forestal lands as valued natural and ecological resources which provide essential open spaces for clean air sheds, watershed protection, wildlife habitat, aesthetic quality and other environmental purposes.”
Closing this District would be in direct contradiction to this stated objective. According to PWC’s website, there are 3 districts encompassing over 2,400 acres – this action closes them all!
The Ag Forest District plays a key role in allowing Prince William County to grow and develop residential and commercial areas, but also develop sustainable resources and the beauty that the Ag Forest District brings to the county landscape.
The Planning Commission and the BOCS plan to close the Agricultural and Forestal District is unwise and unwarranted. It is also surprising that the Planning Commission so easily voted to remove districts that could have been used to promote Ag as an environmental preservation strategy. It will ultimately be bad for the economic and sustainable development of Prince William County.
Don’t let the Board of County Supervisors close the Agricultural and Forestal District! Call your Supervisor and tell him or her not to cast a vote that will close this area. County residents are also encouraged to attend the BOCS meeting on May 15 to voice their opposition to closing the Ag Forest District.
Contact Your County Supervisor and Tell Them NOT to close the Agricultural & Forestal District!
The Chairman of the Board of Supervisors is the first person to call an voice your opposition to closing the Ag Forest District.
To speak to the owner of Madera Farm about this important issue, please call Jake Klitenic at 703-214-4662.