Nearly half of a 4,500 acre property in Albemarle County’s rural area that’s owned by the West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s family will go to auction later this month, according to an announcement Wednesday.
Owned by James C. Justice Companies, Inc., the land was placed in a conservation easement in 2019, which prevents wide-scale development of the property. The 4,500 acres are near Monticello.
Torrence, Read, and Forehand Auctions is holding the auction, which will be conducted in two phases. The first phase will be 12:30 p.m. July 19 at the Boar’s Head Resort in Charlottesville. The phase will include 2,081 acres offered in three tracts from 521 acres to 925 acres, according to an advertisement in the Daily Progress and a news release from the company.
The second phase auction will be held in November 2022.
“Make your mark on Charlottesville! Incredible opportunity near some of Virginia’s most exclusive properties including Morven, Highland, and Monticello,” the advertisement states. “Prime blank slate to create your exclusive estate or sprawling ranch from scratch.”
A conservation easement is a permanent agreement between a landowner and a conservation organization or an easement holder that allows the landowner to retain ownership of the land but places certain expectations and restrictions on how the land will be managed.
The easement on this property is held by the Albemarle Conservation Easement Authority. That agreement allows the property to be divided into five parcels. Up to 10 homes can be built on the entire property.
“This property is poised to become the location of Charlottesville’s next premier estate/ranch,” the group handling the auction said in a news release.
An information session about the auction will be held Friday, July 8, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Boar’s Head Resort’s Ednam Hall.
The property has more than 800 acres of open land, miles of streams and views of Carter’s Mountain, according to the release.
“While the property cannot be developed into a large-scale housing development, most other functions go unaltered,” the group said in the release.
Because the property is in the Monticello viewshed, buildings of more than 1,000 square feet that are visible from Monticello will be subject to screening and architectural requirements to minimize visibility, according to the deed.
The Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and operates Monticello, supported the decision in 2019 to place the property in a conservation easement.
Industrial and commercial activities on the property are limited to agriculture, equine activities, forestry, and the processing or sale of farm or forest products produced or partially produced on site, according to the deed.
Natural resource-based educational, scientific or recreational activities also are allowed as long as they are consistent with the conservation purposes of the easement.
Events with no more than 40 attendees are allowed, though that’s contingent on prior approval from the county’s easement authority.