Rural Preservation Study

Read the Final Report from the Rural Preservation Study!


Project Mission

The Board of County Supervisors has directed the Planning Office to conduct research on appropriate planning tools to help in the preservation of open space in rural areas. The purpose of the rural preservation study is to provide an overview of the County's rural preservation policies and an evaluation of their effectiveness, identify additional rural preservation tools that may be appropriate and effective, and make recommendations regarding possible amendments to the County's land use planning policies. Opportunities for stakeholder input will be provided throughout the project. Project information will be posted here as it becomes available. 

Prince William County has a long history of rural preservation. In 1964, Harland Bartholomew and Associates conducted a planning study for Prince William County and recommended a Comprehensive Plan that identified a significant portion of the County as "Large Estate and Agricultural." The preservation goals for this area became more formalized through designation of the Rural Area in the 1998 Comprehensive Plan. In addition to the Rural Area, the County has adopted various rural preservation measures including policies and strategies for Chapters in the Comprehensive Plan: Environment, Parks, Open Space, and Trails, Long Range Land Use, and Sanitary Sewer, Zoning Ordinance provisions, and Subdivision Ordinance standards. Together, these measures constitute the County's overall rural preservation vision, goals, policies, and strategies. However, since the establishment of the Rural Area, the County has not measured the effectiveness of the rural preservation tools.  
  ​ Meetings + Details

Project "Kick-Off"
June 4, 2013​

Presentation of the Rural Preservation Study before the Board of County Supervisors.
Board Report + Board Presentation
Public Input Meeting
August 1, 2013​

​Discussed the County's Rural Preservation Goals and Strategies
Agenda + Presentation

Status Update
October 15, 2013

Presentation of the current status of the study to the Board of County Supervisors.
Rural Study Update Presentation

Rural Preservation
Study Workshop
December 7, 2013

The workshop featured an all-day self-guided open house with planned work-sessions discussing topics specific to rural preservation policies in the County. 

Rural Area Study Workshop:
Rural Area Study Workshop Agenda
Rural Character Presentation
Land Preservation Presentation

The Rural Economy Presentation

Rural Area Study Maps:
Parcels 20 Acres Plus
Parcels 5 Acres Under
Parcels 5 to 20 Acres
Water and Sewer Infrastructure
Protected Open Space
Rural Area
Public Facilities and Open Space
Planned Land Use Intensity
Prime Agricultural Soils and Wooded Areas
Aerial Photography (PWC)
Long Range Land Use
Environmental Resources and Cultural Resources
Existing Land Development Status
Map Current Land Use

Rural Preservation Study
Public Information Open House
January 23, 2014

The slideshows and study maps presented can be found above, following the Rural Area Study Workshop Program Agenda.

Final Report - July 2014
​Presentation of the summary of findings from the Study to the Board of County Supervisors.
Rural Area Study Final Report
Rural Area Study Findings Presentation
 Comments may be forwarded to the Planning Office using the Planning Office comment form.