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The following is a proposal to replace Culpeper’s A1 and RA zoning ordinance with a new ordinance, RA1. 
The benefits under the new zoning ordinance are:
  • Potential density would be defined and frozen at levels that could be achieved by-right in a period of 6 years.
  • Farmland would be more protected and consumed at a slower pace than under the current ordinance because of allowable smaller lot sizes.
  • Future growth beyond existing density would be controlled by the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors and would only occur if the income from such growth exceeded the cost of a new lot.
  • Landowners that did not want to increase the density of their land would have the opportunity to sell their building rights to the county or others who wanted rights.
  • Landowners that want to increase the density of their property would be able to do so by buying rights without having to go through a cumbersome process with the county.

Proposal for Zone RA-1

Zone all of RA and A-1 to RA-1.  Rural Agricultural 1 zoning will permit 50,000 square feet (1.2 acre) home sites and permit agricultural use on all parcels without a dwelling and all parcels of 4 acres or greater.

  • 50,000 sq. feet lots minimum with all setbacks and restrictions of Culpeper’s current R-1 zoning ordinance.
  • All private roads must be a minimum 18 ft wide and chipped & double-primed for the portion feeding more than two lots. 
  • No private road can exceed 2500 ft in length unless it connects to another state road, in which case a private road can be up to 1 mile in length.

RA-1 Building Lot Rights
  • Permitted density (the number of building rights attached to a parcel) is based upon allowable 6-year density under the prior zoning ordinance and code.
  • All tax map parcels will be assigned a number of building rights that could be achieved under the current zoning ordinance over the next six years. 
  • In order for right to exist, soils must be suitable for a septic system of some type, and access to a state road must be available.  The county will determine all building rights for all county parcels prior to the adoption of this ordinance and will notify all parcel owners of their number of building lot rights under the proposed new ordinance.  Any parcel owner disagreeing with the number of building lot rights shall have the right to prove to the zoning administrator that more usable building rights could have been created under the prior ordinance within a six year period.
  • Rights can be transferred privately at a price agreed upon by the buyer and the seller (perhaps a floor of $30k?).  The County can also offer to buy and sell rights at any price it desires  The county can issue new rights in RA-1 at its discretion, provided that any newly-created rights can be put up for auction with a floor price established by the county.
  • Subdivision is only permitted if the subdivider owns a building lot right. 

Underwood Farms

Culpeper County, Virginia
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