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Rippin Run Farm

Rippin Run Video

On March 23, Laurie Miller and Greg Grymes recorded a conservation easement on their 87-acre property, Rippin Run Farm. Rippin Run Farm is located in Greene County, Virginia, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Found along the Old Fredericksburg Road (Rt. 609), it is a property within and around some of the most beautiful rolling landscapes of Eastern Greene and Western Orange Counties. Laurie and Greg have decided to put the property on the market, listed at $795,000.00, and in response to their heroic conservation efforts, we have featured their property as a Conserv Success Story for April, 2009.

First, the facts. The property is located at 6400 Fredericksburg Road, Tax Map # 53(A)11, between Dawsonville and Scuffletown just across the Orange County line, westbound. Scuffletown, by the way, is the origin of the name of the local band of the same name. The band members, Marc Carraway and John Whitlow, are from the area, as are many other fine musicians, including Greg. Laurie, Greg, Marc, John, and many other from Orange County used to gather a decade ago at the old Firehouse Cafe in Orange (now closed) but recently reincarnated as Beggar’s Banquet, sans the restaurant, by the same owner, Marty Van Santvoord, now with new colleague, Curry Hay. A lot of Orange folks sure had a lot of great times at the Firehouse. But I digress.

According to the easement, the property has 2295′ of road frontage and 2500′ of frontage on an unnamed tributary of the Rapidan River, that some call Pole Cat Run. 49 acres (56%) of the property’s soils are classified as “prime” according to the Greene County Soil Survey.  The easement states that the “use of the property for open space conforms in all respects to the Greene County Comprehensive Plan“. The zoning for the property is A-1. The property is also within an Agricultural District, the intent of which is to “primarily protect farming in the County…”

Rippin Run Farm was rated by Conserv with a “Moderate Bioassessment Rating” likely containing the following environmental assets:

  • Hunting
  • Bird Watching
  • Open Space
  • Proximity to park or protected lands
  • Prime soils
  • Historic agricultural activity
  • Forestry
  • Environmentally-friendly building materials and design
  • Animals (see below)

According to Laurie, wild turkey, pheasants, deer, fox, owls, hawks (nesting red-tails) make their home in and around the property. She knows this because the farm is laced with walking trails lovingly created and maintained through the years by Greg. It is also noteworthy that the farm has been managed “organically” for the past 18 years that they have owned the property. Views of the Blue Ridge are exceptional and Old Rag Mountain can be seen in the distance.

The easement provides restrictions for the following on the property (interested purchasers should refer to the Deed of Easement for more details):

  • Subdivision
  • Two dwelling units, one of which shall not exceed 5000 sq. ft. and other shall not exceed 1500 sq. ft. of above grade living, residential outbuildings and structures not to exceed a total of 1500 sq. ft. without written approval from Grantee, and farm buildings not to exceed 4500 sq. ft., again without Grantee approval. Practically, this means that one additional home can be constructed within a specified building envelope.
  • Uses are limited to agriculture, livestock production, equine activities, forestry, related small-scale incidental commercial or industrial operations approved by Grantee, processing and sale of products produced on the property, temporary or seasonal outdoor activities (with restrictions).
  • Best Management Practices (defined by the Virginia Department of Forestry) for any timber harvest.
  • Grading, blasting, and mining.
  • Trash
  • Signage
  • Riparian Buffer
  • Forested Buffer along Rt. 609.

When asked why they would both go the lengths they have to permanently protect the property, Laurie says that she and Greg are “extreme environmentalists” and they always believed that this was the right thing to do. She did mention that the tax advantages will be helpful but are not the central reason that they decided to protect the property. We also discussed possible diminution of value (Laurie thinks that approximately 20 houses could have been built on the property under by-right zoning; it is possible that the value of those lots would be greater than the value of the property as a whole with the easement). Although the appraisal by Karen Pape is not yet complete, Laurie notes that possible loss in economic value was, for them, a non-issue.

In conclusion, she notes the importance of the circular nature of friends and family….the listing agent for the farm, John Ince, President of Charlottesville Country Properties, was her buyer’s agent when they bought the farm. She couldn’t say enough nice words about John and his real estate practice in Charlottesville and his commitment to conservation.

- Michael Collins


One Response to “Rippin Run Farm”

  1. michigan land Says:

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