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Department of Economic Development - Agricultural Services
 

 

Agricultural Preservation

 

 
 

 

 
 
County Executive Ike Leggett and Agricultural Services Manager Jeremy Criss present farmer W. Drew Stabler with a farm sign bearing the County's "Agricultural Producer" logo at the press event announcing Montgomery County's achievement of 70,000 acres of farmland in preservation.  The agricultural preservation easement on one of W. Drew Stabler's farms helped the County to achieve this goal in 2008.,

 

The Preservation of rural land for agricultural use has a high priority in Montgomery County.  More than 93,000 acres of the County's 316,000 acres are still in agriculture.

As farmers and landowners, you are part of this effort to preserve agricultural land. You can be both participants in, and beneficiaries of, efforts to preserve agricultural land.

Agricultural Land Preservation Programs

In Montgomery County, landowners can choose from seven separate agricultural land preservation programs. Each of these programs place an easement on the property which prevents future commercial, residential or industrial development of the land. The programs available are:<

  1. Montgomery County Agricultural Easement Program (AEP)
  2. Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF)
  3. Maryland Environmental Trust (MET)
  4. Montgomery County Transfer of Development Rights Program (TDR)
  5. Montgomery County Rural Legacy Program (RLP)
  6. Legacy Open Space Program (LOS)
  7. Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program
  8. Building Lot Termination Program (BLT)

You may find it economically advantageous to participate in one of these agricultural land preservation programs if you and your family intend to continue farming or if you desire to have your land protected from future development. Montgomery County is committed to preserving farmland to ensure the viability of the agricultural industry which contributes to the County's economic diversity.

Compare and contrast the agricultural land preservation programs that purchase development rights in exchange for placing an easement on the property. Click here.


Building Lot Termination Program

Building Lot Termination ( BLT ) Program – While established by law in 2008, this newest farmland preservation tool began to purchase its first easements in 2011.  The primary purpose of a BLT Easement is to preserve agricultural land by reducing the fragmentation of farmland resulting from residential development. A BLT Easement restricts residential, commercial, industrial and other non-agricultural uses. A key feature of the BLT Easement is an enhanced level of compensation to a landowner who can demonstrate that their land is capable of residential development and agrees, as part of the BLT Easement, to forego residential development and permanently retire an approved on-site waste disposal systems associated with the lot to be terminated under the easement. 

This program will involve two phases, the initial program will be comprised by a publically funded program which is governed under County Law (Chapter 2B of the Montgomery County Code) and corresponding Executive Regulation 3-09AM.  The second phase of this program will involve a privately funded initiative whereby the development community may purchase BLT's directly from RDT zoned landowners.  It is envisioned that this privately funded initiative will function in a similar fashion as the County's highly successful Transferable Development Rights Program (TDR).

Developers who purchase BLTs directly from RDT zone landowners can achieve greater density for commerical and residential development by applying BLT's purchased for qualified projects in TMX (Transit Mixed Use), CR (Commerical-Residential) and LS (Life Science) Zones within the County.


Building Lot Termination Open Purchase Period

The Department of Economic Development Agricultural Services Division's will hold the next Building Lot Termination Easement Program open purchase period beginning on February 1, 2014 and will conclude at the close of business on April 1, 2014.   

Applications for the BLT program will not being accepted before the offical start of an open purchase period.  If you would like to view an application, it is available online (below) or you can call to request an application at 301-590-2810. 

 During open purchase periods, landowners submitting applications should make an appointment to discuss their applications.  They should be prepared by bringing certain documentation to discuss their property.   This includes but is not limited to:

  1. Surveys, maps or diagrams that help describe the proposed easement  property;
  2. Copies of County Approved on-site waste disposal system site plan
  3. Status of TDRs for proposed easement property
  4. Copies of Deeds, Tax Bill or any other document describing the landowner’s legal association with the proposed easement property.

If you wish to schedule an appointment to discuss your property you can do so by either calling 301-590-2810 or make an appointment via email to john.zawitoski@montgomerycountymd.gov

All applicants whose applications are determined to be complete will be placed on a completed application list.  At the conclusion of the open purchase period, DED will begin to analyze the proposed property to establish its numerical score for the purposes of ranking the property among all completed applications received during the open purchase period. 

The total number of BLT ’s purchased by the County from the applications received during the open purchase period is a function of the amount of funds available.  The DED/APAB will then determine from the ranking, the order for offers that will be tendered during the purchase period.  It is possible that there will be more applications received then there is funding for the open purchased period.  Any application not funded during the open purchase period will be held by DED and will be eligible for consideration in subsequent open purchase periods.

 Important Documents Relating to the BLT Program

 


Agricultural Eaement Program (AEP)
Open Purchase Period 
The Department of Economic Development Agricultural Services Division's will announce future open purchase periods on this website in addition to other locations when the information becomes available.
Applications for the AEP program will not being accepted before the start of any announced open purchase period.
If you would like to view an application, it is available online (below) or you can call to request an application at 301-590-2810. 
 

AEP Easement Application

During open purchase periods, landowners submitting applications should make an appointment to discuss their applications.  They should be prepared by bringing certain documentation to discuss their property.   This includes but is not limited to:
 
  1. Surveys, maps or diagrams that help describe the proposed easement  property;
  2. Status of TDRs for proposed easement property
  3. Copies of Deeds, Tax Bill or any other document describing the landowner’s legal association with the proposed

All applicants whose applications are determined to be complete will be placed on a completed application list.  At the conclusion of the open purchase period, DED will begin to analyze the proposed property to establish its numerical score for the purposes of ranking the property among all completed applications received during the open purchase period. 

The total number of AEP easements to be purchased by the County from the applications received during the open purchase period is a function of the amount of funds available.  The DED/APAB will then determine from the ranking, the order for offers that will be tendered during the purchase period.  It is possible that there will be more applications received then there is funding for the open purchased period.

Make Your Land Preservation Decision Now

The time is ripe to consider preserving your farm for future agricultural use. Farmland owners in Montgomery County have already responded to the preservation opportunities by placing more acres under easement than any County in the nation. The seven programs available in Montgomery County offer you viable options to preserve your farmland. The choice is yours.

You may wish to discuss the features of each program further in order to decide which program is the most beneficial for you. The Agricultural Services staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Email us your questions and we will be happy to get back with you.


MCER NO. 3-09AM:  ADOPTED DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT REGULATION

 Agricultural Land Preservation Easement Purchases

SUMMARY:  This adopted regulation provides rules and regulations for determining the County supplemental payment for Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation purchase of agricultural land preservation easements; and establish the method of purchasing agricultural easements by the County including method of determining easement value, method of ranking offers to sell easements, and terms of payment for easements.  This regulation would supersede Executive Regulation 66-91.

AUTHORIZATION AND PROCEDURAL METHOD:  Montgomery County Code, 2004, Section: Chapter 2B.  Method 1.  

COPIES OF THE Adopted REGULATION:  Click on Link Below:

County Council Resolution 16-1471 and EXECUTIVE REGULATION 3-09AM Agricultural Land Preservation Easement Purchases (247 kb/PDF)

pie chart
Pie Chart (49 kb/PDF)
Montgomery County Agricultural Preservation Map
Map (716 kb/PDF)
bar chart
Phase I Goal (PDF)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phase II Goals

                                  

*Phase II is Enhancing the Preservation of Lands Protected by TDR Easements with more protective overlay Agricultural and Conservation Purchase of Development Rights Easements (PDRs)

Farmland Preservation Documents Available for Download:

(all downloads on this page require Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Montgomery County Farmland Preservation Report, 2012 (506 kb/PDF)

Farmland Preservation and the Agricultural Reserve (590 kb/PDF)

Introduction to Montgomery County Farmland Preservation (3.2 MB/PDF)

Farmland Preservation Program Information Brochure(1 MB)

Information Regarding the Transferrable Development Rights Program

 

The Montgomery County Department of Economic Development
Agricultural Services Division
18410 Muncaster Road · Derwood, Md 20855
Phone: 301-590-2823 · Fax: 301-590-2839