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Varina landowners seek to preserve land

By: Laura Geller - bio | email

VARINA, VA (WWBT) - If you fast forward to 2026, Henrico County's East End will still be rural in nature.

Residents felt so strongly about that it was even written in the county's Land Use Plan.

But landowners want to ensure their own protection and at a workshop Saturday they learned conservation easements might be the best way to preserve the land they love.

What would you do if a developer knocked on your door and said he wanted to turn the farmland you've spent your entire life cultivating into a subdivision?

It's a dilemma Varina residents face all the time.

"What happens to our property and what happens to the world around us and whether or not it's beautiful and healthy or not is all about what we decide to do today," said landowner Nicole Anderson Ellis.

Some residents have already taken steps to protect their land.

Buz and Nelda Snyder own more than 150 acres.

Nelda's family has owned the property for nearly a century.

"This place is something else," said Buz. "It's the greatest place I've ever seen."

To preserve their land the Snyder's have enrolled in a conservation easement.

"Developers were starting to come," he said. "All the developments up and down Osbourne Turnpike. And even though they haven't started here yet, they're going to come."

They explain enrolling in the easement process is lengthy.

"Surveyors come after the title search, and then the appraisal, then there's of course the attorney," he said.

But for the Snyders, there's no question the year long endeavor is worth it.

"We're hoping that a lot more land, especially along the river and some of the farms can remain here," said Nelda.

If you want to learn more about the easement process or the county's Land Use Program, there are a number of resources available.

Envision Henrico: preserving land: http://www.psgrichmond.org/envisionhenrico/index.php

Henrico county Land Use Program: http://www.co.henrico.va.us/departments/finance/

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