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Loudoun County & land use - farm owners?

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  • Loudoun County & land use - farm owners?

    For those of you who have your own place in Loudoun, do you have land use on some or all of your property, and if so, how do you keep it (make hay, livestock, etc?) I've been making hay for the last couple of years since I moved here but it is difficult to find reliable people who will do small parcels well and I would like to not have to rely on hay as the source of land use. I called the county and they told me that boarding horses, as well as sales of horses, even if you did not breed the horse, counted as land use activities. I actually spoke to 2 people who confirmed this (I wanted to hear it twice). My neighbor, who is always right, or at least thinks he is told me that he doesn't think horse sales or boarding would be adequate. There seems to be some debate about what equals land use and the code is fairly vague. Open space isn't an option for us - wrong district unfortunately. If anybody has experiences or knowledge with keeping land use on a farmette used primarily or horses, please share! I've heard horror stories about people losing their land use, and definitely don't want to have that happen even if I do have to keep making hay.
    Second Fiddle Farm

  • #2
    Well, I hope the county was right, since that is what they tell lots of us. Perhaps your neighbor should stick to what he does know. Boarding is definitely allowed income for the land use exclusion, in Loudoun County, but to be honest, the amount of discount received for me knocks about 150K off my value, then the taxes are calculated on the lower value. The tax savings are mostly eaten up in the higher insurance costs with having boarders, pushing you into farm policy territory, so keeping land use might not be worth having boarders, if you don't want people around. I like my boarders.

    You have to file a plan with the extension office, showing the layout of the farm, they approve it, and then you have land use that you do the 5 year renewal on. I just renewed mine and it was easy. I just included my schedule C's from the past 5 years, since I do run my barn as a business, and that was done.


    • Original Poster

      Yes, I looked into Open Space but our property unfortunately is no longer in an eligible district. It was changed in April of '08 so that we can't apply for it. Bummer because that would have been a simple way to do things.
      Second Fiddle Farm


      • #4
        Gosh, I just went and read about it, and decided to click on a few of those "ag" districts...

        And you know what it looks like to me? It looks like an awful lot of people already subdivided the property, but don't want to pay residential taxes on it, so they lump the lots together, for some puny amount of time (4 years in the new Airmont district) and then, they call it open space, or they can just pull out of it.

        That is not preserving open space, that is simply a tax evasion for the developing land owner who wants their cake (sell off the subdivied lots) and to eat it too (don't pay taxes after they subdivided).

        In one district, one owner has 14 lots, some as small as .56 acres, been in the county since 1928 based upon historical articles, appears to have a home zip code in Bethesda, MD, makes regular campaign and PAC contributions, and yet, those multiple lots, that probably used to be part of a farm, are supposedly preserving open space?

        That is not open space, that is a "the economy sucks, so I can toss my lots into this open space clause and wait it out for 4 years, then I'll develop"...or keep developing.

        And, for all the McMansions on 10-12 acre lots....that is not "open space" that is wasted space, unless they ARE producing something on that land, or keeping livestock. I would like to see them producing hay, crops, gardens, something besides lawn mowing, because that land is already developed, and they should be paying their taxes if they are not truly using it for something besides their yard.


        • Original Poster

          gothedistance, yes it is a stinker that we are no longer open space eligible. But glad to know that indeed, boarding is a legit land use activity. Where did you see that info about the BOS proposing to increase the land use acreage requirement? I assume, or at least hope, that those of us under 20 acres would be grandfathered in.

          Nobody commented about horse sales - can anyone confirm that it is also included (I want to take the county person's word on it, but don't trust them entirely!) I'm sure that if I ever ran in to a problem that the people at the county who told me that would be nowhere to be found...
          Second Fiddle Farm


          • #6
            Gosh, I want to move to your area of the world. Wow! It sounds like it is much easier to get ag exemptions there.