There continues to be confusion around the Nutrient Bank, particularly with respect to ownership, maintenance, and restrictions.
If the HOA buys the land, we will own the land. The Nutrient Bank, the Virginia State Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Conservation Plus, and the old golf course owners, jointly or singly, will not own it.
You may have heard that the cart paths are on Nutrient Bank property. That does not mean that we will not own them or that anyone will restrict our right to use them.
Ownership of the Nutrient Bank has nothing to do with the ownership of the land. The Nutrient Bank is not actually property in the physical sense. It is really just a set of rules and restrictions that keep certain land, regardless of ownership, used in a way that allows it to create environmental benefits. At the time that those rules and restrictions were put in place on specific acreage that belonged to the former Virginia Oaks golf course, those environmental benefits created a value. In exchange for that one-time value, by legal agreement, those environmental benefits have to be maintained in perpetuity.
There is additional confusion when it comes to the word maintained. In the sense of the Nutrient Bank, this does not mean “fix and repair.” It means “allow or enable.” For practical purposes, if we buy the land, the sellers and Conservation Plus, the Nutrient Bank Sponsor, will still be required by the rules and restrictions to ensure that the environmental benefits continue by keeping a certain density of trees on the property. We, as the land owners, will have to provide them access to the land to allow them to do that, and we will not be allowed to cut down those trees. We don’t bear any expense or responsibility for the Nutrient Bank beyond that.
If the Virginia Oaks HOA owns the land, we can use it for walking, fishing, camping, etc. regardless of whether it is part of the Nutrient Bank, so long as we do not do anything to harm the environmental benefits. We can use the cart paths without restrictions.
As far as the HOA is concerned, the relationship with the Nutrient Bank will be similar to your relationship with your utility company. You, as the owner of your property, have to allow the power company access to the cables and box that are physically located on your property. If there was a power outage in a storm, you are not responsible for fixing the damage. The utility company comes out to do that. But you can’t prevent them from having access to make the repairs. On the other hand, if you cut the cables or run the box over with your car, you might have to pay for replacement. None of this means that they own your property or tell you how to use it.
Every aspect of this sale and the legal agreements involved has been reviewed by the HOA’s attorney, a professional legally bound to safeguard the best interests of the HOA during this real estate transaction. Please refer to the facts and official Board FAQs on the subject of the Nutrient Bank. But also please understand that any piece of a complex transaction can be taken out of context and made to seem more confusing or alarming than it is. You may be confused because what you have heard is different than what appears in the official Board information, or because you are being told that the Board information is incorrect. Please read the information in the links below. This information was provided by the HOA Board in response to the factual errors emailed by an individual homeowner who opposes the purchase of the property to all homeowners listed in the Virginia Oaks directory.