Agricultural Forestal District

Planning, Permitting and Enforcement administers the Agricultural Forestal District program. Applications must be submitted each year between January 15 and February 15. The local governing body (Board of Supervisors) must approve the creation of a "district". In addition, annually, before November 1 of the year preceding the tax year, owners must re-certify that the use of the land has not changed.


AFD Program Policy

Agricultural and Forestal Districts Act Code of Virginia Chapter 43

Conditions for the AFD Program

There are certain conditions to create an AFD. Any parcel in the district shall not, without approval from the Board of Supervisors, be developed into more intensive use other than uses resulting in more intensive agricultural or forestal production during the period the parcel remains in the district. Landowners and members of the owners’ immediate family who earn a substantial livelihood from a farm or forestal operation on the same property are allowed to have dwellings within the AFD however these areas are subject to normal taxes. Lastly, an AFD participant is committed to keep their farm or forest land in active production for 10 years.

Qualifications for the AFD Program

In order for land to qualify for the AFD program it must meet a few requirements. Each AFD must have a core of at least 200 acres in either one parcel or in contiguous parcels. A parcel not part of the core can be included if it is within one mile of the boundary of the core, if it is contiguous to a parcel in the district which is within one mile of the boundary of the core, or if the Board of Supervisors determines that the parcel contains agriculturally and forestally significant land. If these requirements are met, landowners may submit an application for the creation of a district or for an addition to a district between January 15 and February 15 of each year to the local governing body. Each application requires a $500.00 processing fee. The application will be reviewed by the agricultural and forestal advisory committee and then submitted to the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the creation or addition to the district after which they will have 180 days to create, add to, or modify the district in question.

Many people wonder how Northampton County’s Agricultural-Forestal District (AFD) program works and what property can be included. We hope the following information will be helpful to you.

Purpose of the Program

The Commonwealth of Virginia’s “Agricultural and Forestal Districts Act” (Code of Va., 15.2-4301) states:

It is the policy of the Commonwealth to conserve and protect and to encourage the development and improvement of the Commonwealth’s agricultural and forestal lands for the production of food and other agricultural and forestal products. It is also the policy of the Commonwealth to conserve and protect agricultural and forestal lands as valued natural and ecological resources which provide essential open spaces for clean air sheds, watershed protection, wildlife habitat, as well as for aesthetic purposes. It is the purpose of this chapter to provide a means for a mutual undertaking by landowners and localities to protect and enhance agricultural and forestal land as a viable segment of the Commonwealth’s economy and as an economic and environmental resource of major importance.

Agricultural and forestal lands are critical economic and environmental resources for the Commonwealth. Due to their importance, they need to be protected and conserved. The 1977 Agricultural and Forestal District Act recognizes that agricultural and forested lands are rapidly being lost due to population increases and developmental pressures. The AFD Act counters these pressures by offering landowners protection and incentives to preserve their agricultural and forested lands. The AFD Act gives localities the authority to create Agricultural and Forestal Districts which gives landowners the opportunity to conserve their agricultural and forested lands on a long-term scale.

Staff Information

Susan McGhee

757-678-0443 ext. 541

David Dameron
Zoning Administrator

757-678-0443 ext. 545

John Outten
Building Official

757-678-0445 ext. 525

Kelley Lewis Parks
Planner/GIS Specialist

757-678-0443 ext. 546

Tom Rippon
Code Compliance and Building Inspector

757-678-0445 ext. 526

Julie Floyd
Development Inspector

757-678-0443 ext. 542

Jennifer Sayers
Building Permit Technician

757-678-0445 ext. 543

Rose Bower
Zoning Permit Technician

757-678-0443 ext. 524

Carolyn Duffy
Administrative Clerk 

757-678-0443 ext. 544

Department of Planning, Permitting & Enforcement
PO Box 538
16404 Courthouse Road
Eastville, VA 23347

Hours of Operation
9 AM - 5 PM