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Rural Preservation Study

Read the Final Report from the Rural Preservation Study!

Project Mission

The Board of County Supervisors 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 was 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 were provided throughout the project.


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.  

Comments may be forwarded to the Planning Office using the Planning Office comment form or calling 703-792-7615.


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