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Fones Cliffs Hearing Update

3Photo by Bill Portlock/CBF Staff.

In the last few weeks, more than 6,700 voices spoke out against a devastating development proposed for part of Fones Cliffs along the Rappahannock River in rural Richmond County, Virginia. Last Thursday night the Richmond County Board of Supervisors heard those voices. They decided to postpone a vote on Diatomite Corporation's request to rezone part of Fones Cliffs*

The room was packed at last Thursday's Richmond County Board of Supervisors public hearing. Photo by Kenny Fletcher/CBF Staff.

In an overflowing public hearing, individuals spoke passionately about the harm that this nearly 1,000-acre development would have on the community and the stunning natural landscape of Fones Cliffs, which is home to one of the most important bald eagle habitats on the East Coast. Former Virginia Delegate Tayloe Murphy urged the board to "consider the overall welfare of the community and not just the welfare of the owners of this property," saying "the best interest of all of the citizens of Richmond County would [be to] call upon [the board] to deny this application." And Bryan Watts of The Center for Conservation Biology spoke of Fones Cliffs as a critical "touchstone for eagles." 

We thank the board for wisely postponing a vote until their November 12 meeting. At this point, any decision on rezoning the property would be premature. Many unanswered questions remain concerning how the Miami-based developer would ensure protection of the unparalleled environment and natural resources at Fones Cliffs.

We look forward to working with the supervisors as they continue their careful review of this important matter. And many thanks again to you for helping protect this jewel of the Rappahannock. If you haven't already, please sign the petition and encourage others to do the same.

—Emmy Nicklin
CBF's Senior Manager of Digital Media

P.S. If you or someone you know lives in Richmond County and would be interested in knowing more about this development, please forward
Virginia Outreach and Advocacy Manager Ann Jurczyk's contact information ( or 804-780-1392)
. If you or they believe this development is not in the county's best interest, we encourage attendance at the November 12 Board of Supervisors Meeting. Stay tuned for further details.

*The part of Fones Cliffs that is owned by the Diatomite Corporation of America.

Learn more about Fones Cliffs and why it's important in our blog series here.



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