Essex County Virginia

Land Use - Supporting Documentation

Supporting documentation to be submitted with application:

If there are a number of owners who would like to designate one person to be the official agent for signing the application and renewal documents, then feel free to utilize our Authorized Agent Consent Form.

For Agricultural and Horticultural Use: 

  • A detailed acreage report and an aerial photo map generated from the FSA (Farm Service Agency) farm and tract number. These can be obtained from the USDA Farm Service Agency, 772 Richmond Beach Street, Tappahannock, VA 22560. (804) 443-3571
  • Agricultural Use Statement by Land Owner -or- 
  • Agricultural Use Statement by Leasing Farmer
Land owner and leasing farmer (if applicable) must complete and sign statements certifying the agricultural use of the land (to establish bona fide commercial production for 5 years prior to year application is filed) and certifying that the land is in a planned program of soil management and soil conservation

For Forest Use: 

Forest Use Agreement

The owner shall complete and sign the above form to certify that the land is used in a planned program of timber management. Although a signed commitment by the owner listing objectives of maintaining the forest (including methods of soil and water protection and resource management) is acceptable at the beginning of the Land Use Program, every land owner shall be required to have a forest management plan written by a professional forester within a reasonable amount of time. Qualified plans also include VDOF Stewardship Plans and American Forest Foundation Certified Tree Farm Management Plans. If land owners do not already have such a plan in place, they must call Essex County Forester, Warren Coburn, at 804-443-2211 to schedule his, or another professional forester’s, preparation of a plan for your forest land. 

For Open Space Use:  

There are two ways to qualify: 
  • Record a perpetual easement, either a conservation or historic easement, with the Clerk of Circuit Court and include a copy with the application. (Land owners must notify the Commissioner of the Revenue if they have a perpetual easement, whether they apply for Land Use or not.) Certain tracts of land may be eligible for a lower tax rate than the open space rate. 
  • Record a commitment with the Clerk of Circuit Court for a specific period of time (4 to 10 years) which carries certain restrictions as to the use of the land   using the approved Open-Space Use Agreement. A filing fee of $21 payable to the Clerk of the Circuit Court must accompany the Open Space Use Agreement. 
All of the above must also be consistent with the Essex County Comprehensive Land Use Plan and the land use zones contained therein. 

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