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Hills & Heights

Two new conservation easements along Riverside Drive

With these properties moving into the conservation easement the view won’t be blocked.




From Councilman Parker Angelasto:

For the past 25 years, private property owners Mark and Donna Romer and Dorothy Cleal had an agreement that they would not develop their adjoining properties without consulting each other. Late last month, they took the ultimate act to formalize this agreement in perpetuity by recording conservation easements on their parcels at 5513 and 5517 Riverside Drive respectively.

Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) facilitated the review and recordation of these two conservation easements covering 1.4 acres for the purpose of protecting the watershed and scenic views of the James River from the scenic byway Riverside Drive and the view of the surrounding landscape from the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. In addition, these properties adjoin the James River Park System and portions of the park that the City of Richmond protected by a conservation easement in 2009. They thus provide a further buffer for the natural resources and recreational uses protected there.

Under Virginia’s Conservation Easement Act, a conservation easement is a voluntary act of the property owner and must be compatible with the locality’s comprehensive plan. The City’s Master Plan recommends that “the recreational, aesthetic, and environmental attributes of the James River be protected and enhanced in a way consistent with its role as a unique urban waterway.”

“The corridor along the James River is a special place and it feels good to preserve a piece of it. I would like to thank the CRLC for helping us sort through the details of how to do this,” said Mark Romer.

“Sharing similar goals, we were able to work as a team to not only donate the conservation easement but to make sure our neighbors and visitors would always be able to enjoy this very special view of the James River,” said Dorothy Cleal.

Parker Agelasto, Executive Director of the Capital Region Land Conservancy said “the Romer and Cleal easements are unique examples of land conservation in an urban environment where development pressures threaten important viewsheds and encroach on existing protected lands.”

”Working with the Romers and Mrs. Cleal has been a real pleasure,” said Jane Myers, Land Conservation Manager of CRLC. “Their love and appreciation of this iconic view of the City of Richmond which is shared by all who travel Riverside Drive is what drove the process making it very easy for all of us.”

CRLC President Bill Greenleaf “We are delighted to help these two landowners protect an incredible viewshed of the James River for those on the river and those who travel along Riverside drive.”

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.