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Abstract

A survey of landowners in Rappahannock County, Va., provided information on ownership, land use, and owners' opinions concerning public services and future outlook for the county. More than half the landowners have their legal residence outside the county, but residents own over half of the land. Nonresidents are more likely to hold land for recreation or resale than local residents. Forty-three percent of the owners are in professional, technical, or managerial occupations; only 5 percent class themselves as farmers. Agricultural activity is declining, and sales of land in small parcels can lead to the disappearance of agriculture. Nonresidents expressed more interest than residents in retaining the rural atmosphere of the county, but they were less critical and less informed about public services than residents were. Many residents and nonresidents seem unaware of existing State and county land use controls. Public policy can play a role in land use, but final decisions are made by landowners. An improved land information system could help both community leaders and landowners in planning future development of the county so that the attractive aspects are preserved.

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