Stafford County, the onetime home of founding father George Washington, wants to halt sprawl in the Virginia countryside near Fredericksburg, but it is struggling to persuade rural landholders to sell their development rights to the county rather than to developers.
Response to a mail survey by the committee two years ago indicated a majority against the idea. One question asked by a responding landowner in the county that lies halfway between Washington and Richmond was: “Are any of these options even close to what I could get in cash from developing?” according to the Free Lance Star of Fredericksburg.
The seven-member Purchase of Development Rights (PDR)committee, established by the Board of Supervisors in February 2007, has an initial $600,000 to buy development rights from Stafford owners of 20 acres or more. Half the money was put up by the county, which was then matched by the state. The state’s deadline for the county spending the money is April 2010.