Board gets deed for County Farm

WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County now formally owns the County Farm and former site of the Alms House.

The Board of Supervisors voted 6-0 this week to accept a deed from the state for the 235-acre property known locally as the County Farm. The county bought the property valued at $1.64 million from the state for $1. Specifically, the Department of General Services and the state granted the property to the county.

County officials learned in the months after a fire destroyed the Alms House in the spring of 2014 that no deed existed for the property. The county has maintained the property since the early 1800s on which it ran the Alms House for the poorest residents until the Alliance for Shelter began using the building.

Local officials could not find a deed for the County Farm when staff tried to put together such documents for all property owned by the county. County administration and the county attorney corresponded regularly with the Department of Historic Resources and the attorney general’s office to obtain a deed.

The state provided a quitclaim deed and a revised survey modified in December. The revised survey includes the following protected areas:
• 8.89 acres related to historical significance of Oct. 8, 1864
• 1.645 acres related to the location where the Alms House once stood that includes other significant, historic structures listed in the National Historic Register
• 0.946 acres related to the cemetery

The deed states that the county cannot develop on those portions of the property identified as a “no disturbance area.” The restrictions run with the land in perpetuity.

The Board of Supervisors voted 6-0 to approve a motion to authorize County Administrator Mary T. Price to accept the quitclaim deed on behalf of the county.

The board also took action related to the planned expansion of the Filibuster Distillery in Maurertown. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced on Feb. 28 that Filibuster Distillery plans to expand its whiskey-production facility in Maurertown. The state partnered with the county and the distillery on the project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with the county to secure the expansion.

Performance agreements are required in order to memorialize the terms of the announcement. Key points in the agreements are:
• Filibuster Distillery to invest $795,000 at its county facility, create eight jobs and buy $263,250 worth of Virginia-grown grain
• Investments to provide additional revenue to the county and States Manship
• The governor’s fund to grant $30,000 to the county to pass through to the distillery
• The county provides the required match of $30,000 over four years in the form of partial rebates of additional revenue received
• If investments fail to generate $30,000 in new revenue for the county by 2020, the county provides the required match and Filibuster must repay the portion not covered by increased revenue. Filibuster’s investment of $795,000 is expected to create more than $30,000 in local revenue by 2020.

Also at the meeting, supervisors:
• Voted 6-0 to appropriate $88,124 from the U.S. Department of Treasury to the county’s current budget. Sheriff Tim Carter intends to use the funds to buy equipment for his agency.
• Voted 6-0 to approve the Department of Recreation and Parks request to use roughly $35,000 from the agency’s enterprise fund balance to buy a new tractor.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com