Land Preservation Fund
What is the Fairfax County Land Preservation Fund?
- The Land Preservation Fund, created by the Board of Supervisors in January 2001, gives citizens the means to take direct, personal action to help conserve the county's shrinking open space. Your donation to the Land Preservation Fund is tax deductible.
What is the benefit of supporting this new program?
- Contributors gain the satisfaction of knowing that they are helping to guarantee a legacy of open space and parks in Fairfax County for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. In addition, land preserved as open space helps improve air quality, control noise and reduce storm water run-off, so with your donation, you'll be working to protect environmental quality in Fairfax County. Also, open space requires limited county services, so indirectly you'll be helping to reduce the costs of infrastructure necessary to support development.
Why is there a need for private donations?
- The county's population is increasing by about 20,000 annually. With this comes increasing demands for services, putting parks in competition with the needs of schools, police, fire and rescue and human services for limited public funds. The pressure is two-fold because population increases also speed conversion of open space for development. At present less than 14 percent of the county's area remains as open space. This undeveloped land won't wait for tax dollars to become available. If preservation is to come in time, private donations are needed to supplement the county's allocation of public funds for the preservation effort.
Who operates the Land Preservation Fund?
- The Fairfax County Park Authority, as the steward of parkland in Fairfax County, is the agency entrusted to develop, administer and implement the Land Preservation Fund.
How do I make a donation?
How will donations be managed?
- Contributions to the Land Preservation Fund will be maintained in a land program "savings account" and once sufficient money is accumulated and appropriate real estate parcels identified, the land will be purchased by the county and maintained as open space. The Park Authority administers the Land Preservation Fund under guidelines established by the Board of Supervisors. All contributions received under this program go directly and in total to the Land Preservation Fund.
If all funds go to the purchase of land, how are administrative and overhead costs of the program paid?
- The county's general fund budget will absorb overhead and administrative costs.
Who decides the land to be purchased?
- Property to be purchased with donations to the Land Preservation Fund will be selected on the basis of priorities established by the Fairfax County Park Authority in consultation with the Board of Supervisors.
Once the land is purchased through the Land Preservation Fund, how will maintenance costs be paid?
- The property will become part of the land inventory that the Park Authority holds in trust for the citizens of Fairfax County, and maintenance costs will be covered through the agency's annual operating budget.
Can I designate my donation to go towards purchase of a particular land parcel?
- At this point, there is no provision for contributors to earmark their donations for purchase of a particular property. The Land Preservation Fund is a countywide program, and expenditures will be based on over-all priorities for open space preservation.
How can I be certain that land will remain open space and not used at some future time for the construction of facilities?
- As specified by the Board of Supervisors in approving the Land Preservation Fund, this program is set up specifically and solely for the acquisition and preservation of open space.
How can I keep informed on the progress of this new program?
- The Park Authority will notify the Board of Supervisors of any purchases through the Land Preservation Fund within 30 days of property settlement. In addition, the Park Authority's annual report to the Board of Supervisors will include details of activity in the Land Preservation Fund, showing contributions received, sites acquired and expenditures incurred during the previous fiscal year. Such reports are part of the public record and are available upon request.
What if I own open space that I would like to pass on to the Park Authority at some point?
- The Park Authority gratefully accepts such donations. If you are interested in giving property for preservation as open space, please contact the Park Authority at 703/324-8578.
Will removing land from the real estate tax rolls have an impact on the county's tax base?
- The fiscal impact depends on the location of the property, its zoning, potential use and value of possible improvements. So until parcels are identified for open space preservation, revenue loss cannot be reliably predicted. But for a guide, an acre of land generates approximately $1,200 of tax revenue annually as a countywide average.