AFDs are rural conservation zones established voluntarily by landowners with their local government (county or in some cases city or town) to conserve, protect, and foster the development and improvement of lands for the production of food and other agricultural/forestal products. AFDs have restrictions about development and subdividing the lands within the districts. Information on whether or not a property is within an AFD is not recorded in the Clerk's Office and therefore not revealed by title work. This information can usually be found at the county or city community planning and development office and guidelines and rules for AFDs are likewise found in county or city Code as well as the Agricultural and Forestal Districts Act of Virginia established in 1977.
In the above scenario the parties found out before settlement that the property was in an AFD and that it could not be subdivided according to the AFD's strict rules. But this was only after both the Purchaser and Seller had spent thousands of dollars in surveying costs, appraisal, and inspections. The deal died in the end.
If you intend to develop or subdivide a property, check with your local County Planning or Development Office first to see if the property lies within an Agricultural Forestal District.