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The main difference is the acreage requirement. Local districts must be a minimum of 20 acres, State districts 200 acres.
The minimum size for Local A&F districts is 20 acres of contiguous land. This requirement can not be waived.
Properties included in an A&F District qualify for reduced land use taxes.
Local A&F Districts are established for an 8-year term. Once the district is established, if the land is removed before the term is up, the property is subject to a tax penalty and rollback taxes for the past five years.
A&F applications are not considered zoning cases. A&F Districts are evaluated in two parts:
- The land use portion of the application is processed through the Department of Planning and Development (DPD).
- The land use tax evaluation portion is processed through the Department of Tax Administration (DTA).
DPD and DTA coordinate on the establishment and regulation of these districts. For more information on DTA's role in the process, please visit their website.
All A&F District applications must be submitted electronically through the PLUS application portal.
For additional information on how to use the PLUS application portal, please visit the DPD PLUS Information & Support page.
If you have questions or need assistance using the PLUS system, please contact the Help Desk:
- Hours of Operation: Mon. - Fri., 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Email: PLUSSupport@FairfaxCounty.gov
- Phone: 703-324-2222, TTY 711
Step 2 in PLUS notes that an approved Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plan prepared by the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District is a requirement in order for an Agricultural and Forestal District to be approved. Please contact Willie Woode (email@example.com) at the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District as soon as possible to start that process. In addition, the applicant is required to contact Jim McGlone (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the Virginia Department of Forestry for additional guidance on Forest Management.
Step 3 in PLUS notes that the following documents are required to be submitted via PLUS:
- Proposed District Map (see sample)
- Statement of Justification with Owners' Signatures (see sample)
- Commitment to Farm/Forest Use*
*Note: The Commitment to Farm/Forest Use may or may not be applicable to every District. Possible commitment examples include but are not limited to: Conservation or Open Space Easements. This information can be included in the Statement of Justification with additional documentation attached.
Once the staff reviews are complete, a staff report is written. The report then goes to the Agricultural and Forestal District Advisory Committee (AFDAC) for review, and the AFDAC makes their recommendation to the Fairfax County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. The Planning Commission then makes their own recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors then adopts or denies the proposed district.