November 14, 2012

Protecting 158 acres no small matter

Yes, $1.3 million is a lot of money to leave 158 acres of James City County, Virginia, in its pristine state. And yes, this chunk of land east of the beautiful Chickahominy River may not have been developed anytime soon.

But the chance to save it was NOW. Developers WILL arrive someday with an even more attractive offer for rural landowners. More homes will drain into that watershed. We have just witnessed what rampant development of the New Jersey shore meant after Superstorm Sandy.

So James City County’s Board of Supervisors approval of this $1.3 million conservation easement purchase was a good thing, ultimately. The decision was not unanimous, but not because of opposition to the county's Purchase of Development Rights program. The purchase leaves merely $600,000 in that specific program. But $3.9 million remains in other greenspace funds, as well as $14 million that can be borrowed--thanks to a 2005 public referendum that the public heartily supported.

Go see this area for yourself. Take a drive down Centreville Road. Turn onto either end of the Jolly Pond Road loop, and turn onto Bush Neck Road. Terrance Malick thought this was a unique area too. He built a fort there on the Chick during the filming of The New World a few years back.

You will not feel like you are in James City if you are used to driving down Richmond Road. This easement will prevent that look from invading this portion of the county.

The Williamsburg Land Conservancy also supported this purchase.

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