with Horse and Hound

Orange County Donates Hunt Property to Conservation Easement

och masters morris and ColesOrange County Hounds Masters (l-r) Neil Morris and John Coles. (Malcom Matheson, MFH not shown) / Douglas Lees photo

The Orange County Hounds—founded in 1900 by sportsmen and women in Orange County, New York, and hunting country in The Plains, Virginia, since 1905—has donated the hunt’s seventy-one-acre property to permanent conservation easement. By so doing, the hunt—many members having long been active proponents for open space conservation—relinquishes in perpetuity the right to subdivide its acreage.

In short, the hunt practices what it preaches.

There will be no impact on property taxes paid by the hunt as a result of the easement, since it has been taxed at agricultural rates in the past.

Improvements to the property, known as Windy Knoll, include the hunt kennels, stables, and four residences for staff. It is valued for tax purposes at $1.4 million. Sixty-seven acres of the undeveloped land was assessed at $256 per acre, and the easement is not expected to affect that valuation.

In a press release issued by the hunt, Treasurer Glenn Epstein said, “there has been a historically strong link in Virginia, and through the Mid-Atlantic region, between the equestrian community and land preservation efforts. We are committed to maintaining the open space of Fauquier County and this step will ensure that this piece of land is permanently protected.”

Fauquier County landowners have protected more than 100,000 acres of their county from future development through agreements with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, established to protect Virginia’s natural and historic resources, water quality and scenery, and through the county’s own Purchase of Development Rights program.

Click for more information as published in The Fauquier Times.

Posted December 9, 2020