Agenda Item 5B
March 7, 2017
Action
MEMORANDUM
March 3, 2017
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
County Council
.
..
rL\
, L,VV
J
./
Robert H. Drummer, Semor LegIslatIve Attorney
h
Action:
Bill 31-16, Taxation - Urban Agricultural Tax Credit - Established
Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee recommendation (3-0):
enact
the Bill with amendments.
Bill 31-16, Taxation - Urban Agricultural Tax Credit - Established, sponsored by Lead
Sponsor Councilmember Hucker and Co-Sponsor Councilmember EIrich, was introduced on
August 2, 2016. A public hearing was held on September 20 and Government Operations and
Fiscal Policy Committee worksessions were held on November 3, and February 9.
Md. Tax-Property Code §9-253 provides that:
(b)
The Mayor and City Council of Baltimore City or the governing body of a county
or of a municipal corporation may grant, by law, a
tax
credit against the county or
municipal corporation property tax imposed on urban agricultural property.
Bill 31-16 would implement this authority by:
(1)
establishing an urban agricultural
tax
credit against real property
tax;
(2) defining an urban agricultural property and an urban agricultural purpose;
and
(3) establishing eligibility for an urban agricultural
tax
credit
Background
Bill 31-16, as introduced, would define an urban agncultural property as real property that
IS:
(1)
(2)
(3)
at least one-half of an acre and not more than 5 acres;
located in a priority funding area, as defined in Md. State Finance and
Procurement Code §5-7B-02; and
used for urban agricultural purposes.
The Bill as introduced, would define an urban agricultural purpose as:
(1)
crop production activities, including the use of mulch or cover crops to
ensure maximum productivity and minimize runoff and weed production;
(2) environmental mitigation activities, including stormwater abatement and
groundwater protection;
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(3)
(4)
(5)
community development activities, including recreational activities, food
donations, and food preparation and canning classes;
economic development activities, including employment and training
opportunities, and direct sales to restaurants and institutions; and
temporary produce stands used for the sale of produce raised on the
premises.
A property owner must conduct at least 2 urban agricultural purposes on the property. The
term of the credit would be 5 years. The credit would equal the property tax otherwise due on the
property.
The County Attorney's Office reviewed the Bill and made some suggested amendments to
clarify the intent. See the County Attorney's Bill Review Memorandum at ©lO-12.
Public Hearing
All 4 witnesses supported the Bill. Aaron Rosenzweig supported the Bill as a way to help
people learn where food is grown. (©21.) Gabriel Shapiro, representing Chesapeake Climate
Action Network, supported the Bill as a way of making the community more green with urban
agriculture. (©22-23.)
Alyce Ortuzar, representing Well Mind Association of Greater
Washington also supported the Bill, but added a concern about stormwater runoff. Finally, Lynn
Koiner, representing the Koiner Farm in Silver Spring, supported the Bill as a measure to help her
family keep their 40-year old urban farm operating. We also received written testimony in support
of the Bill from several employees of Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (©24-25) and the
Montgomery County Agricultural Advisory Committee (©26).
After the public hearing, the Executive submitted comments on the Bill requesting that the
broad scope of the Bill be narrowed to limit the potential fiscal impact. (© 18-19)
November 3, 2016 GO Worksession
Councilmember Tom Hucker also attended the worksession in addition to the Committee
members. Bonnie Kirkland, ACAO, Alex Espinosa, Finance Director, Mike Coveyou, Finance,
and Jeremy Criss, Office of Agriculture, represented the Executive Branch. Robert Drummer,
Senior Legislative Attorney, represented the Council staff.
The Committee reviewed the Bill, as introduced, the amended Bill proposed by
Councilmember Hucker, and the Executive's recommendation to convert the tax credit to a grant
program.
The Committee asked staff to:
1.
redraft the payback provision to ensure that the payback is for the year the property
is no longer eligible for the credit;
2.
work with Finance to reduce the geographical area eligible for the credit to urban
areas (CM Riemer suggested in a CBD or within
~
mile from a CBD); and
3.
work with Finance to prepare options to limit the amount of the tax credit.
2
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February 9,2017 GO Worksession
Councilmember Tom Hucker also attended the worksession in addition to the Committee
members. Mike Coveyou, Finance, and Jeremy Criss, Office of Agriculture, represented the
Executive Branch. Robert Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney, represented the Council staff.
The Committee reviewed the Bill, as introduced, the amended Bill proposed by CM
Hucker, and the additional amendments recommended by Council staff.
The Committee amended the Bill to:
1.
narrow the definition of urban agricultural purposes to traditional farming;
2.
require at least $5000 in gross revenue from farming to receive the credit;
3.
amend the definition of gross revenue to include the value of produce donated to
charity;
4.
limit the credit to 80% of the property tax owed;
5.
limit the size of eligible properties to at least
Yz
acre to 3 acres;
6.
change the department that detennines eligibility from Finance to Agriculture;
7.
limit the geographical area for eligibility to a residential zone within 1000 feet of
or in a Metro Station Policy area; and
8.
amend the payback provision to ensure that the payback is for the year the property
is no longer eligible for the credit;
The Committee recommended (3-0) approval of the Bill as amended.
Issues
1.
What is the fiscal and economic impact of the Bill?
OMB, in the Fiscal and Economic Impact Statement (©13-18) noted that there are
approximately 36,300 taxable properties between
Yz
and 5 acres that are not zoned as agricultural
properties. However, OMB could not detennine how many of these properties are currently used
for "urban agricultural purposes." If each of these properties qualified for the tax credit, which is
unlikely, the total loss of tax revenue could be $436.4 million in FYI7. The large potential tax
credit discussed in the FEIS points out the need to better define and possibly limit the eligibility
for the
tax
credit. Although OMB did not review the fiscal impact for the Bill as amended by the
GO Committee, the lost revenue would be substantially lower due to the amendments discussed
below.
2. Should the definition of agricultural purposes be narrowed?
Although the Bill included crop production as an agricultural purpose, it also includes
environmental mitigation activities, community development activities, economic development
activities, and temporary produce stands. The addition of these non-fanning activities, though
environmentally desirable, broaden the potential tax credit to many property owners who are not
farming and resulted
in
the OMB fear of a massive potential loss of property
tax
revenue. In fact,
3
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each of the witnesses at the public hearing supported the Bill to encourage property owners to use
their property for farming. This appears to be the main purpose of the Bill.
After receiving the Executive's request to narrow the Bill, Lead Sponsor, Councilmember
Hucker, and Council staff met with members of the Executive Branch to discuss the broad
definition of agricultural purposes. Councilmember Hucker intends to introduce amendments to
the Bill that would define agricultural purposes using the definition of urban farming in §3.2.9 of
the County Zoning Code, as follows:
Urban agricultural purposes
means
ill
the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and ornamental plants:
ill
the limited keeping and raising of fowl or bees: or
ill
the practice of aquaculture.
This change in scope would limit the tax credit to urban farming and significantly reduce the
potential fiscal impact ofthe credit. Committee recommendation (3-0): amend the definition of
urban agricultural purposes as described above and shown on lines 28-45 of the amended Bill at
©3.
3. Should there be a minimum value of sales from farming to receive the tax credit?
Baltimore City enacted an urban agricultural tax credit based upon the State enabling act.
However, the Baltimore City ordinance requires the property owner to derive at least $5000 each
year from farming on the property. This provision eliminates eligibility for the suburban backyard
tomato garden that produces tomatoes for the family. While it is desirable to encourage backyard
vegetable gardens, the purpose ofthe tax credit is to encourage working farms on small residential
lots that produce a significant amount of produce for sale. Councilmember Hucker's proposed
amendments would add this gross revenue requirement. Committee recommendation (3-0):
require a property owner to receive at least $5000 in gross revenue from the sale of produce raised
on the property to receive the tax credit, but define gross income to include the fair market value
of food products grown or raised on the property donated to an organization registered as a
charitable organization. with the Maryland Secretary of State. See lines 4-8 and 55-57 of the
amended Bill at ©2, 4.
4. Should the tax credit be for 100% of the County property tax owed?
The Bill would provide a 100% tax credit on the County property tax owed. While this
would encourage urban farming, these property owners still receive County services like other
taxpayers. The same result may be derived from a partial credit. Councilmember Hucker proposed
an amendment to limit the credit to 80% of the County property tax owed. Committee
recommendation (3-0): limit the tax credit to 80% of the County property tax owed. See lines
60-61 of the amended Bill at ©4.
5. What is the proper minimum and maximum size of a lot that should be eligible for the
credit?
The Bill, as introduced, requires an urban agricultural property to be at least Y2 acre, but no
more than 5 acres. Councilmember Hucker proposed an amendment that would keep the minimum
4
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acre size, but limit the maximum size to 3 acres. In addition, a property owner who owns more
than one contiguous lot of less than
~
acre would be permitted to consider both lots together as
one to meet the minimum lot size. Committee recommendation (3-0): amend the minimum and
maximum lot size to at least
~
acre to 3 acres and consider contiguous lots together to meet the
minimum size. See lines 11 and 83-85 in the amended Bill at ©2, 5.
6. Which County department should be responsible for certifying eligibility for the tax
credit?
The Bill, as introduced, would require the Director of the Department of Finance to certify
eligibility for the tax credit. The Executive Branch recommended charging the Office of
Agriculture with the initial task of receiving an application and certifying eligibility to the
Department of Finance. This appears to be within the scope of the duties and expertise of the
Office of Agriculture. Councilmember Hucker proposed an amendment to shift this duty to the
Office of Agriculture and require the Director of Finance to base eligibility on the certification of
the Office of Agriculture. Committee recommendation (3-0): amend the Bill to require the
property owner to apply to the Office of Agriculture for certification for the tax credit. See lines
62-70 of the amended Bill at ©4.
7. When should a property owner be required to apply for the credit?
The Bill, as introduced, would require a property owner to apply at least 90 days before the
beginning of the tax year the credit is sought. The Department of Finance requested that the Bill
be clarified that the property owner must apply on or before April 1 of the tax year before the tax
year the credit is sought. Although this is the same date, it would make it easier for the tax payer
to understand when the application is due. Committee recommendation (3-0): amend the Bill
to require an application on or before April 1 before the tax year the credit is sought. See lines 62­
66 ofthe amended Bill at ©4.
~
8.
Should the credit be limited to property in a residential zone?
The Bill, as introduced, does not limit the credit to property in a residential zone. The
Department of Finance requested this limitation. This is consistent with the purpose of the tax
credit. Committee recommendation (3-0): amend the Bill to require the property to be in a
residential zone. See line 9 ofthe amended Bill at ©2.
9. The County Attorney's recommended amendments.
The County Attorney recommended several amendments in the Bill Review memo for
clarity. See ©9-l1. Several of the recommendations would be taken care of by Councilmember
Hucker's proposed amendment. The following recommendations are not:
a.
b.
Add the phrase "In order to receive the credit" at the beginning o/subsection (e).
Add the word "tax" after the
5
in subsection
(f)
(1).
5
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Committee recommendation (3-0):
make both ofthese amendments for clarity. See lines
62 and 72 of the amended Bill at ©4.
10. Amendments based upon the Committee's guidance.
Council staff worked with the Department of Finance to draft 2 additional amendments
based upon the Committee's guidance.
(I)
Amended payback provision
-
this amendment would clarify that the payback
would only be for the years that the property was not used for urban agriculture.
Committee recommendation (3-0):
amend the Bill as provided on lines 75-82 of
the amended Bill at ©4-5.
Geographical area for the credit
-
this amendment would limit eligibility to a
property that is located within 1000 feet of a Metro Station Policy Area.
I
.ill}
Definitions.
In
this Section:
Urban agricultural property
means real property in a residential zone that is:
(II)
ill
ill
at least one-half of an acre and not more than
[[~]]
J
acres;
located within 1000 feet of or in
~
[[priority ftmding area, as defined
in Md. State Finance and Procurement Code §5-7B-02]]· Metro Station
Policy Area as defined in the most recent Subdivision Staging Policy
adopted under Section 33A-15. including the:
(A)
Bethesda Central Business District;
Friendship Heights:
Glenmont
Grosvenor:
Rockville Town Center:
Shady Grove:
Silver Spring Central Business District
Twinbrook:
Wheaton Central Business District and
White Flint and
LID
(Q
!!ll
~
ill
LQl
an
ill
ill
ill
used for urban agricultural purposes.
Committee recommendation (3-0):
limit the geographical area ofeligibility to within 1000
feet of a Metro Station Policy Area. See lines 12-26 ofthe amended Bill at ©2.
I
The Koiner farm discussed at the public hearing is 500 feet outside the Silver Spring Central Business District.
6
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11. Should the Bill be enacted?
Urban farming can be a benefit to the community. The Bill may create opportunities for
farming in down County areas where most of our County residents live and work. Urban farming
in these areas may also encourage the production of locally grown fresh food that is both healthy
and desirable. However, the Bill, as introduced, is potentially too costly because it is too broad.
The amended Bill narrows the tax credit to promote urban farming yet not overburden County
taxpayers.
Committee recommendation (3-0):
enact the Bill with the amendments described
above.
This packet contains:
Bill 31-16
Legislative Request Report
Md. Tax-Property Code §9-253
County Attorney Bill Review Memorandum
Fiscal and Economic Impact statement
Executive's September 21 Memorandum
Testimony
Aaron Rosenzweig
Gabriel Shapiro
Anne Palmer
Agricultural Advisory Committee
F:\LAW\BILLS\163l Urban Agricultural Tax Credit\Action Memo.Docx
Circle #
1
6
7
10
13
19
21
22
24
26
7
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Bill No.
31-16
Concerning: Taxation
Urban
Agricultural Tax Credit - Established
Revised: February
10. 2017
Draft No.
Q..
Introduced:
August
2.2016
Expires:
February
2. 2018
Enacted: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: ----:-----:-:--_ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date:
-!..!N~on~e==_:___-=__---_
Ch. _ _, Laws of Mont. Co. _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
Lead Sponsor: Councilmember Hucker and Co-Sponsor: Councilmember EIrich
AN
ACT to:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
establish an urban agricultural
tax
credit against real property
tax;
defme an urban agricultural property and an urban agricultural purpose;
establish eligibility for an urban agricultural tax credit; and
generally amend the law governing urban agricultural
tax
credits.
By adding
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 52, Taxation
Section 52-11 D
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
* * *
Heading or defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deletedfrom existing law by original bill.
Added by amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existing law unaffected by bill.
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act.'
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BILL
No. 31-16
1
Sec.
I.
Section
52-lID
is added as follows:
2
3
4
52-lID.
Urban Agricultural Tax Credit.
ill
Definitions.
In this Section:
Gross income
means the revenue received from the sale of products
5
6
grown or raised on the property, including the fair market value of food
products grown or raised on the property donated to an organization
registered as a charitable organization with the Maryland Secretary of
State.
Urban agricultural property
means real property in a residential zone that
IS:
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
ill
ill
at least one-half of an acre and not more than
located within 1000 feet of or in
~
[~]] ~
acres;
[[Priority funding area, as
defined in Md. State Finance and Procurement Code §5-7B-02]]
Metro Station Policy Area, as defined in the most recent
Subdivision Staging Policy adopted under Section 33A-15,
including the:
(A)
(ill
(Q
16
17
Bethesda Central Business District;
Friendship Heights:
Glenmont:
Grosvenor:
Rockville Town Center;
Shady Grove:
Silver Spring Central Business District:
Twinbrook:
Wheaton Central Business District: and
White Flint: and
18
19
20
21
(ID
(ID
22
23
24
(El
(ill
an
ill
ill
ill
25
26
27
used for urban agricultural purposes.
o
f:\law\bills\1631 urban agricuttural tax credit\bilI6.docx
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BILL
No. 31-16
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
Urban agricultural purposes
means
ill
the cultivation of fruits. vegetables. flowers. and ornamental
plants;
ill
ill
ill
the limited keeping and raising of fowl or bees; or
the practice of aquaculture.
[~
crop production activities, including the use of mulch or cover
crops to ensure maximum productivity and minimize runoff and
weed production;
35
36
ill
ill
environmental
mitigation
activities,
including
stormwater
37
38
abatement and groundwater protection;
community
development
activities,
including
recreational
39
40
41
42
activities, food donations, and food preparation and canning
classes;
ill
economIC development activities, including employment and
training opportunities, and direct sales to restaurants and
institutions; and
43
44
45
46
47
ill
(Q)
temporary produce stands used for the sale of produce raised on
the premises.]]
Credit required.
The Director of Finance must allow each eligible
taxpayer
~
credit against County real property taxes due in each tax year
in which the taxpayer is eligible for the credit.
(£)
48
49
50
51
Eligibility.
[[An eligible taxpayer must conduct at least
2.
urban
agricultural purposes on urban agricultural property.]] A property owner
is eligible for the tax credit each year:
52
ill
[[The]] the urban agricultural property [[must be]] is used solely
for urban agricultural purposes, except an individual [[engaged in
crop production on the property]] may also reside on the property;
53
54
o
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BILL
No. 31-16
55
56
57
58
ill
the property owner has more than $5000 in gross income from the
sale ofproducts grown or raised on the urban agricultural property;
and
ill
@
the property owner files a timely application for the credit with
proof of eligibility.
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
Amount
Q[
credit.
The credit must equal 80% of the County property tax
otherwise due on the property.
ill
Application.
In
order to receive the credit. a
[[A]]
property owner must
apply for the credit with the Office of Agriculture [[at least 90 days]] on
or before April! of the tax year [[the beginning otl] before the first tax
year the tax credit is sought on
~
form containing the information required
by the [[Director]] Office of Agriculture. A property owner must.ill2PlY
to continue the credit [[at least 90 days]] on or before [[the]] April! of
the tax year before [[beginning otl] each subsequent tax year.
The
69
Director of Finance must determine taxpayer eligibility for the credit
based upon the recommendation from the Office of Agriculture.
70
71
72
73
ill
Term
Q[
credit.
ill
ill
(g)
The term ofthe credit is
~
tax years, unless renewed.
A
taxpayer may
.ill2P!Y
to renew the
credit no later than 90 days
74
75
76
77
78
79
before the expiration of the credit for another
~
tax years.
Continuous agricultural use required.
It:
at any time during the term of
the credit or the renewal of the credit, the property is no longer used for
agricultural purposes:
ill
ill
the credit granted to the property must be tenninated; and
the owner ofthe property is liable for all property taxes that would
have been due [[during that 5-year tenn]] ifthe credit had not been
80
8
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BILL
No. 31-16
81
granted for any year that the property was not used for agricultural
purposes.
(b}
Contiguous lots.
A property owner may combine 2 or more contiguous
subdivision lots under common ownership into one property to satisfy the
minimum lot size for an urban agricultural property in subsection (a).
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
ill
Appeal.
The Director must take all actions necessary to apply the credit
to each eligible taxpayer who applies for the credit and is certified as
eligible by the Office of Agriculture. A taxpayer may appeal
~
final
decision
Qy
the Director denying or terminating the credit to the Maryland
Tax Court within 30 days after receiving
~
notice of denial or termination
from the Director.
91
92
93
94
95
Sec.2. Evaluation.
The Director must submit a report to the Executive and the
Council on or before January 1,2020 evaluating the effectiveness of the tax credit in
promoting urban agricultural purposes.
Approved:
96
97
Nancy Floreen, President, County Council
Date
98
Approved:
99
Isiah Leggett, County Executive
Date
100
This is a correct copy ofCouncil action.
101
Linda M. Lauer, Clerk of the Council
Date
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LEGISLATIVE REQUEST REPORT
Bill 31-16
Taxation
-
Urban Agricultural Tax Credit
-
Established
DESCRIPTION:
PROBLEM:
GOALS AND
OBJECTIVES:
COORDINATION:
FISCAL IMPACT:
ECONOMIC
IMPACT:
EVALUATION:
EXPERIENCE
ELSEWHERE:
SOURCE OF
INFORMATION:
APPLICATION
WITHIN
MUNICIPALITIES:
PENALTIES:
Bill 31-16 would establish an urban agricultural tax credit against
real property tax.
Using property for urban agricultural purposes is becoming less
common in the County.
Encourage urban agricultural purposes in the County.
Finance, County Attorney
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be researched.
Robert H. Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney
To be researched.
None.
F:\LAw\BILLS\1631 Urban Agricultural Tax Credit\LRR.Docx
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§
9-253. Urban agricultural property; tax credits, MD TAX PROPERTY
§
9-253
IWest's Annotated Code of Maryland
ITax-Property
ITitle 9. Property Tax Credits and Property Tax Relief
ISubtitle
2.
Statewide Optional
MD Code, Tax - Property,
§
9-253
§
9-253. Urban agticultural property; tax credits
Effective: June
1, 2014
Currentness
(a)(l) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.
(2)
"Urban agricultural property" means real property that is:
(i) at least one-eighth of an acre and not more than 5 acres;
(ii) located in a priority funding area, as defined in
§
5-7B-02 ofthe State Finance and Procurement Article; and
(iii) used for urban agricultural purposes.
(3) "Urban agricultural purposes" means:
(i) crop production activities, including the use of mulch or cover crops to ensure maximum productivity and minimize
runoff and weed production;
(ii) environmental mitigation activities, including stormwater abatement and groundwater protection;
(iii) community development activities, including recreational activities, food donations, and food preparation and canning
classes;
--_._
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Government Works.
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§
9-253. Urban agricultural property; tax credits,
MD
TAX PROPERTY
§
9-253
(iv) economic development activities, including employment and training opportunities, and direct sales to restaurants and
institutions; and
(v) temporary produce stands used for the sale of produce raised on the premises.
(b)
The Mayor and City Council of Baltimore City or the governing body of a county or of a municipal corporation may grant,
by law, a tax credit against the county or municipal corporation property tax imposed on urban agricultural property.
(c)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a tax credit under this section shall be granted for 5 years.
(2)(i) If the Mayor and City Council ofBaltimore City or the governing body of a county or ofa municipal corporation grants
a tax credit under this section, the jurisdiction granting a tax credit shall evaluate the effectiveness of the credit after 3 years.
(ii) If the jurisdiction granting the tax credit determines that the tax credit is ineffective in promoting urban agricultural
purposes, the jurisdiction granting a tax credit may terminate the tax credit.
(iii) The jurisdiction granting a tax credit under this section may extend the tax credit for an additional 5 years.
(d) The Mayor and City Council of Baltimore City or the governing body of a county or of a municipal corporation may
provide, by law, for:
(1) the amount of the tax credit under this section;
(2) additional eligibility criteria for the tax credit under this section;
(3) regulations and procedures for the application and uniform processing of requests for the tax credit; and
(4) any other provision necessary to carry out the credit under this section.
(e) At any time during the period for which a property tax credit under this section is granted for urban agricultural property, if
---_
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©
2016
ThclnsCln
Reuters. No claim to original U.S Government Works.
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_--_._----_._---------_.------------------------­
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§
9-253. Urban agricultural property; tax credits,
MD
TAX PROPERTY
§
9-253
the property ceases to be used for urban agricultural purposes, the owner of the property shall be liable for all property taxes
that would have been imposed if a property tax credit for urban agricultural property had not been granted.
Credits
Added by Acts 2010, c. 721, § 1, eff. June 1,2010. Amended by Acts 2013, c. 660, § 1, eff. June \,2013; Acts 2014, c. 390. §
I, eff. June 1,2014.
MD Code, Tax - Property, § 9-253, MD TAX PROPERTY § 9-253
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OFFiCE
OF
TIlE
COUNTY ATtORNEY
lsiah Leggett
C¢ttrityEx@lJ1ive
Marcp.
Hansen.
.C;oimtyAti~Miey
ME:rviORANI1UM
TO~
Alcx~dre
A..pspinosa.
pirectqt
D· . artmentofFmanee
. ep ..... .
YIA:
FROM:
Edward R,.
Lattnet~
Chie,
.
Division QfGov$1UJ1ent
Ope~oI'ls;
ScottR.
Foncanno~Acting
Chief
pjvi$iQIl.()fF.il1i:Ult;~
AAd Procurement
DATE;
t'\ug\Jst 10.
2Qt6
RE::
Sill
31~16~
Taxation -lJrQ@Agriculit1rCll TaxCrc:ctit ..
Established
I
havereviewedUiU31-19.
Taxati~n.,..
UrbanAgncmtural
TilXCtedit-
Estahlished.
luis
bill
creates
an urban
agriculturalreal
property
taX
credit IorCQuntyreal
PrQperty
J~xes,
·provided
the
real
property
i~\JSed
fortwoof
irre:tlv:e
Ijstedmban.agrieultUtaI.pll'I'p<)ses ·or
activi~es;lJte
taxcr¢ditisfor five
tax
yeats.
with
a
possihlerenewaI
fQranaddith)J}al:fiveye~~
ThebiUalsoeontaillsJanguageth.at
alloWs
~CmlD.ty
to
r~~WT'e~x
fat
thefive,-year
pet1oclof
time; ifiliepropetty,
is
no
lohgerusedfor urban
agricUltural
purposes, or is no.iongereligible for
thecteditduring that
five-yearpenoc!.
The tax.creditis;cteated
pu~t toan~blirigStatelawiil
Section
9,.253 of
the
Tax­
Property Artide, ofthe
Anno~b:dCqde ofM~latid.
..
1h#;\ve several
comments
cQnceming t'hetn credit bilL
L
First;
tm.dertheiieiinitions
secqQnofm:ban
agriVldtUmputposes,
it'isdifticli!t
to
determine
ifdresepl:ll'pOse$canl:ieconsideredirtdividually,otprop~must
comply
with
all
of
the purposes.toql$l1ty
lor
thecredi~because
between No.4
and
5'tb¢Tels3I:i
"ijn4.~;
lijelieve
this wordsho41d.be"Qr:
n ­
2.
Under
the
credit
requite4line23,
it
directs
the
Ditector of
Finance
to
allow each
eligible taxpayer a credit
ag~st
COWItyreal
property
taxes
due.
jn~ch
tax
year
in
which the
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HH MonroeStteet.RPckVillei Maryland
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Alexancire.A,ES,pinosa
A'4gust 11* 2016
Page 2
.::l'isa:~g!~:!::::I;:;iJ:::ia:::~::~::J::::!:;·.~~~i::!:·Q!At~$
propertY.
ni~
n9t¢lear
t9m.¢wI1etJiet'~hetaxcreditapplie$'
tojust
the
landot~alsothe'
improvements on the landthatmay'be used
fur residentialpurposes.
3~
Also~
the
bill
doesrtotdefirie
ataxp~yedfia
waywhicnwould
litnitthe
tClX
credit
to
just
indiyjdua.ls
that
own
properties
OJ:'
whe~er
the
~
-tteditis
avwlal'l.le to,pfopcli.ie;s,
that
may
be
oWnedQya
c()rpOtateentity.
~
LLC.s partnership, or.S trust.
In
subsection
(c)~line
28
j
.the
hill
refers to
an
~'individua1
engaged
in crop pmducnon", '¥hich
typically
4ellQt~s.
a bq.Jll8l1 being,
not
an entity.
4.TIlebiU~eI1t~pns}~eteI1lioftheCrediti~five
years and
can
be
renewed for
anotherflve ytats
{line
39).
Itisnotc1ear
if
ten
years is
the
maximum
ttmnorifitctln
be
renewed p,erpeiually.
.
.
5.
I would
recommendthe{ollowirlg
~lIlendin~t$to
13il131-16to help
clarifyth¢
biUand
Illf4ke itconsisteut
with
SUite
Jaw.
.
~9T\"'riv'
- .-
is
' - -
fur,
w;Q;'~
.
that:
. ' '
~
- ­
a.
. :Line9
wqqldf~ ~
follows;
Urban
agficulturm
durtJqsesmeans
b.
Line20wouId be modified
todeIetetheword'<and;'andadd.
the w(}td
C;Sectioh(C).
~ginnjngat1me26
would
be
amended
as follows:
Eligibility..
I21~ ~~~eligibletwmayer
llllm
l1Se.thep.tt>~Lqt
[[tonductJl
at
least
~Q[1b~
urban
~sultura1pUiposes
pro~mUStbetl$edsolely!ortJ.I'han
agricultural
pUl'poses,exceptan individual
engaged in
[(on urban
wctilfutalprQperlyU
during
tMtermN~fLeilit
The
croRltroductionon
the
property rriay:alsoresid$ onthe.property.
Sectipn(e),
begiruiingat line
34 would be
amended
as follows:
AAAliCatiQ.n.
hlordetm~~etedir~
property oWner
must~fut
the creditatleast 90
days
befoie
theheginningotthefirst~thetaxcredit
soughton
g
form containing the
jnfonnationr~u~h~Di~tot,mgm~r.m ~e
1M
~£ID.tJlproperty
owner
m~1 ~
tQ
continuethecredit~ least90~bef(,re
the
beginning of
each subsequent tax year.
d.
m
e,
SecnQn(f) at line
41wauld addfhe
word
"tax"
between the number 5
and
the words
y~~
SectiQn
(g),beginningatlwe44would
be'amended
as
follows:
Continuous agricul!yraj
w:greguired..
It.atabX
time.during~
tc.rmofthe
credit or
the
renewal ofthecredit.the
propertyisnolo!l8ercli.hlemrtb.~ ~
or
used
for.20
J,lrban
.f.
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Alexandre A.Espinosa
August
11,
2016
Page
3,
Agrici;fltura.l~utp(jses;
SubjeCt
to
'thecon)trients
aPove
and
the
proposed amendments. Jam
tecommendirtgin
the
.attached· editecleopy'ofthe
bilJ~theeredit'isau~riz~py
·state
law and
·thisbiU
is
within the'
lluthority
9fthe
CounciIanq is
otherWlsel¢gaIlysufficient
.eel
Bonnie
A.
Kirldand,
AssistantClUefAdmihisttativeOfl1cer
Marc,P.
Hapsen,
C9uutyAtiQttlcy'
.
Bob
Drutru;net,Legi~lative,Attritney
Amanda MihilI, LegislativeAttomey
SRF
1.~'7I4.9~nilITtl:vjilw
@
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ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND
MEMORANDUM
September 16,2016
TO:
FROM:
H,l(!t\iE~~~tor,
Office of Management and Budget
a, Director, Department of Finance
SUBJECT:
FEIS for Council Bill 31-16, Taxation - Urban Agricultural Tax Credit ­
&!sblished
Please fmd attached the fiscal and economic impact statements for the above­
referenced legislation.
JAH:mc
cc: Bonnie Kirkland, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer
Lisa Austin, Offices ofthe County Executive
Joy Nurmi, Special Assistant to the County Executive
Patrick Lacefield, Director, Public Information Office
Alexandre
A.
Espinosa, Director, Department of Finance
Mike Coveyou, Department of Finance
Jane Mukira, Office ofManagement and Budget
Naeem Mia, Office ofManagement and Budget
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Fiscal Impact Statement
Bill 31-16, Taxation - Urban Agricultural Tax Credit - Established
1. Legislative Summary
Provides for a real property tax credit for "urban agricultural" property, defIned as
properties that are not agriculturally zoned,
that
are between
Yz
and 5 acres, that are used
for "urban agricultural purposes" and that are in State-defined Priority Funding Areas.
2.
An
estimate of changes in County revenues and expenditures regardless of whether the
revenues or expenditures are assumed in the recommended or approved budget. Includes
source of information, assumptions, and methodologies used.
Using the 2016 billing data from the County's property tax database, there are over
36,300
real
property tax accounts that are: (1) taxable; (2) between
Yz
and 5 acres; and (3)
are not zoned as agricultural properties. Most of these properties are likely located in
Priority Funding Areas, as most ofthe County's parcels are located in Priority Funding
Areas. There is no data on how many of these properties are currently used for ''urban
agricultural purposes." Additionally. the bill does not articulate whether each property
must be used in whole for agricultural purposes, or
if
the bill applies to a property
if
any
part ofthat property is used for agricultural purposes. The total amount of County taxes
billed for these 36,300+ accounts is over $436.4 million dollars for FYI7. Some portion
ofthis amount of tax will be credited, but it is not possible to reliably estimate how many
properties will be eligible for the credit.
Since the bill is vague as
to
what is defined as urban agricultural purpose, a very broad
level and array of activities could qualify a property for this proposed tax credit.
Therefore, the potential
FIS,
is
the total tax revenue associated with these properties ­
$436.4 million.
This legislation requires that the Department ofFinance (Finance) administer the bill.
However, Finance does not have expertise
to
determine whether a property is used for an
"urban agricultural purpose." Therefore. Finance would have to hire additional staff with
expertise in ''urban agricultural purposes" including crop production activities,
environmental mitigation activities, and community development activities. Further.
Finance would have to hire additional staff to make site visits to determine
if
a property
has
a tempomry produce stand on it. The required number of new Finance staff cannot be
determined at this time because it is unknown how many property owners would be
eligible and apply for the credit. However, with 36,300 eligible properties, the workload
would be significant since it would require not only initial verification, but periodic
.
checks to ensure the agricultural use continues.
3. Revenue and expenditure estimates covering
at
least the next 6 fiscal years.
See #2 above. As noted above, there is the potential for a broad array of activities
to
be
eligible for this
tax
credit.
If
all
36,300+ properties qualified, the annual fiscal impact
could be approximately $436.4 million annually or $2.6 billion over six years.
Additionally, there will be more personnel expenditures for additional County staffin the
Department of Finance, but that cannot be estimated at this time.
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4.
An
actuarial analysis through the entire amortization period for each bill that would affect
retiree pension or group insurance costs.
Not Applicable.
5. An
estimate of expenditures related
to
County's information technology
(IT)
systems,
including Enterprise Resource Planning
(ERP)
systems.
Not Applicable.
6.
Later actions that may affect future revenue and expenditures if the bill authorizes future
spending.
Not Applicable.
.
7.
An
estimate ofthe
staff
time needed to implement the bill.
Unknown at this time, but significant due to the number ofpotential properties eligible.
8.
An
explanation ofhow the addition ofnew staff responsibilities would affect other duties.
This bill cannot not be administered by current Finance staff. Additional staff would be
required.
9.
An
estimate of costs when an additional appropriation is needed.
See #2 above.
10. A description ofany variable
that
could affect revenue and cost estimates.
See #2 and #3 above.
11. Ranges of revenue or expenditures that are uncertain or difficult to project.
All revenue and expenditures are uncertain for this legislation.
12. If a bill is likely
to
have no fiscal impact, why that is the case.
Not Applicable.
13. Other fiscal impacts or comments.
None.
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14. The following contributed to and concurred
with
this analysis:
Mike Coveyou, Finance
Jane
Mukira,
Office of Management and Budget
2{t5/
lb
Date
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Economic Impact Statement
Bill 31-16, Taxation - Urban Agricultural Credit - Established
Background:
Bill 31-16 provides for a real property tax credit for "urban agricultural" property, defined as
properties that are not agriculturally zoned, that are between
~
and 5 acres, that are used for
"urban agricultural purposes" and that are in Priority Funding Areas.
A property owner must conduct at least 2 urban agricultural purposes on the property. The
term of the credit would be 5 years. The credit would equal the property tax otherwise due on
the property.
1. The sources of information, assumptions, and methodologies used.
Finance estimated for the fiscal impact of the bill that there are over 36,300 real property tax.
accounts that are (1) taxable; (2) between
~
and 5 acres; and (3) are not zoned as agricultural
properties using 2016 billing data from the County's property tax database. Most of these
properties are likely located in Priority Funding Areas, as most of the County's parcels are
located in Priority Funding Areas.
Since there are no data on how many of these properties are used for "urban agricultural
purposes" it is not possible to estimate with specificity the total potential loss ofproperty
taxes to the County. The total amount of County taxes billed for these 36,300 plus accounts is
over $436.4 million dollars for FY17. Some portion of this amount of tax will be credited,
but it is not possible to reliably estimate how many properties will be eligible for the credit.
Finance estimates the average County-only tax for the 36,300 plus properties in question is
slightly more than $12,000 for FY17-the median tax is over $5,800 for FY17. For each 1
%
of participation, based on the average tax, the credit would cost approximately $4.4 million.
As noted in the fiscal impact statement for the bill, since the proposed language is vague as to
what is defined as urban agricultural purpose, a very broad range of activities could qualify a
property for this credit. Therefore, the potential fiscal impact, according to the Fiscal Impact
Statement, is $436.4 million or the total
tax.
revenue associated with these properties.
2. A description of any variable that could affect the economic impact estimates.
Urban agricultural land potentially benefits the County through eliminating blight and
improving access to healthy food. The primary variables that would affect the County's
economy positively would be potential increases in property values as neighborhoods are
improved. Given the limited scope of the bill from an acreage perspective, sites with large
assessed value will be excluded from the credit. Since the current language of the bill
includes such a broad range of activities that could qualify for the credit, the primary variable
in determining the economic impact of the bill is the number of properties that ultimately
qualify for the credit.
Page 10f2
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Economic Impact Statement
Bill 31-16, Taxation - Urban Agricultural Credit - Established
3. The Bill's positive or negative effect, if any on employment, spending, savings,
investment, incomes, and property values in the County.
Given a lack of specificity of data regarding both current properties used for urban
agricultural purposes and those intended to be used in the future, it is difficult to accurately
quantify with any degree of precision the total economic impact to the County as a result of
this
hill.
4.
If
a Bill is likely to have no economic impact, why is that the case?
This legislation
will
have an economic impact. See paragraph
#3
5. The following contributed to or concurred with this analysis:
David Platt, Dennis
Hetman, and Robert Hagedoom, Finance.
Alexandre
A.
Espinosa, Director
Department of Finance
Date
Page 20f2
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""J
I
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. I
OFFICE OF THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE
ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND 20850
Isiah Leggett
County Executive
MEMORANDUM
September 21, 2016
TO:
Tom Hucker, Councilmember
County Council
1
~
Isiah
County Executive
FROM:
Leggett...-(J(~
-,
5
SUBJECT:
Bill 31-16, Taxation - Urban Agricultural Tax Credit - Established
I have reviewed Bill 31-16, Taxation - Urban Agricultural Tax Credit ­
Established. The bill creates an urban agricultural real property tax credit for County real
property taxes, provided the real property is used for two ofthe five listed urban agricultural
purposes or activities, and the property is between
Y:z
acre and five acres in size.
The tax credit is authorized by an enabling State law in Section 9-253 of the Tax
Property Article, of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
As
drafted, the bill is vague
in
its
definition of "urban agricultural purposes." Due to this lack of specificity, the definition of urban
agricultural purposes - particularly, environmental mitigation activities, community development
activities, and economic development activities - could encompass a potentially unlimited range
of activities eligible for the credit. Because the eligible uses are so open-ended, the Department
of Finance would be in the position of approving virtually every application.
Further, it is unclear what the bill is intended to achieve. Unlike many other
jurisdictions in the State, Montgomery County has numerous programs designed to address
environmental, community development, and economic development goals. To
try
to further
address these goals through our tax policy must be considered in that broader context. The
impact on the County's tax revenues and taxpayers must also be considered. Given the current
definition of "urban agricultural pUfPoses" under this bill the impact would be very costly to the
County
in
terms of lost property tax revenue.
Specifically, the following areas of the bill should be addressed:
• Urban agricultural purposes - Identify a clear purpose of what the bill is intended to
achieve and clearly define urban agricultural purposes
in
a manner that can be effectively
administered .
montgomerycountymd.gov/311
..
.
:.~,,",:"'
301-251-4850
nv
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Tom Hucker, Councilmember
September 21, 2016
Page 2
• Application and certification of urban agricultural purposes - The Department of Finance
does not have the subject matter expertise to accept applications and certify urban
agricultural purposes for the
tax
credit.
• Amount of the credit - The bill should clearly specify that it is only the land that is
eligible for the credit, not any improvements on the land. The bill does not provide a
compelling reason to credit the full property
tax
amount. Additionally, there should be
some minimum agricultural use test applied to the property.
As
currently drafted, even
the most minimal agricultural plots could qualify a property for this credit.
As noted above, I am concerned the bill is too broad and is not the most
appropriate and direct way of encouraging urban agriculture in the County. If the intent is to
promote agricultural activities in the urban areas of the County, the bill should be more narrowly
focused on incentivizing agricultural activities. The other implied goals of the bill ­
environmental, community development, and economic development - should be addressed
either through existing programs or more direct initiatives. The benefit of providing an urban
agricultural tax credit should be weighed against the increased burden this places on other
taxpayers
in
the County, the cost to the County to administer the credit, and any unintended
consequences it may create.
Ii
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,?1
I
Aaron Rosenzweig
1 Thorburn Road, Gaithersburg MD 20878
240-421-2520
September 16, 2016
Council members,
I support Hucker and his bill to widen the scope of tax credits to encourage urban farming on lots less than
5 acres in size.
This bill:
https:llwww.montgomerycountymd.gov/COU NCI LlResources/Files/bill/20
16/Packets/20160802
_7A. pdf
What can you produce on
1/2
an acre? Quite a lot.
The "Dervaes" family produce 6,000 Ibs of food per year on
1/10
of an acre:
https:llwww.youtube.com/watch?v=NCmTJkZyOrM
http://inhabitat.com/this-family-produces-6000-pounds-of-food-per-year-on-4000-square-feet-of-landl
http://tinyhousetalk.com/family-grows-6000-lbs-of-food-on-11 Oth-acre-urban-farml
http://urban homestead .org
They are not alone nor or they unique.
"What we found, bottom line, is that organic vegetable production on a small plot of land can be profitable,"
he said. "It's a lot of work, but one family can earn a $45,000 annual salary on a 3-acre plot."
http://today. ag ril ife. org120
12/06/13/0rga
nic-vegetable-econom
icsl
Certainly growing food is not for everyone but for those who do it is immensely rewarding. The benefits
don't stop there. Neighbors learn the value of where food comes from without having to leave their
neighborhoods. One of the best things Montgomery County has done is in creating the Agricultural
Reserve. Within a short driving distance we are connected with nature and we don't have the sprawl that
Virginia has as a result. This bill is simply the next step. Instead of a drive, a simple walk can take you to
where food is grown.
It is important to encourage diversity in all its forms but in food production it is particularly smart. We don't
want to have to ship our food across the country nor do we want to be dependent on large scale
production. This bill will help encourage citizens to reconnect with nature and inspire neighbors to start by
simply growing tomatoes and potatoes on lots less than
1/2
acre in size. Anyone can do it!
My family moved out of Montgomery County jurisdiction and into the City limits of Gaithersburg simply so
we could legally raise a handful of chickens. They are pets with benefits but more than that, they help build
community spirit. Children and families love visiting the chickens just like they will thoroughly enjoy urban
farms on
112
acre or more as this bill proposes.
Please encourage this bill and others like it. Let's even develop new HOA communities with a farm at its
core as a shared community resource such as the Belward Farm on Route 28:
http://www.teamgaithersburg.org/assets/Belward-agrihood-FINAL.pdf
http://thefarmataqritopia.com
Thank you,
Aaron Rosenzweig
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CHESAPEAKE
CLIMATE
ACTION
.................. NETWORK
Bill 31-16, Taxation - Urban Agricultural Tax Credit
Montgomery County Council
Date: September 20, 2016
Position: Support
Comments:
CCAN supports tax incentives for urban agriculture projects because land use is a critical aspect of a
municipality's response to the climate emergency we are currently facing. This bill provides
Montgomery County with an opportunity to become a nation-wide leader on green city planning and
development.
Urban agriculture would make the community more green. Green space in urban settings has an
immediate effect on residents, consumers and tourists visiting the area. The space provided by urban
agricultural projects allows for community growth; renewal and health, through food preparation and
canning classes, harvest days, farm stands and ongoing collaboration, cooperation, dialogue and
collective management.
On a technical level, urban agriculture provides many tangible benefits for the city itself.
C"limate change brings unpredictable and extreme weather events, and we have just seen the
beginning of it. Stormwater infrastructure is only capable of diverting a certain amount of the runoff that
results from heavy rain during severe storms. Soil used in urban farming improves in quality over time,
due to composting and tilling. This soil becomes increasingly effective at trapping and storing
rain-water. It also acts as a filter for the water, addressing growing concerns over water contamination
in urban spaces.
The list of green stormwater infrastructure strategies promoted by the EPA also includes downspout
disconnection, rain-water harvesting, rain gardens, planter boxes, bio-swales, permeable pavements,
green streets and alleys, green roofs, urban tree canopy, and land conservation.
1
Additionally, cities experience much higher temperatures than rural and suburban settings because of
the amount of solar heat that gets trapped in buildings and pavement and in between buildings because
l"Urban Agriculture as a Green Stormwater Management Strategy."
The Freshwater Society
(2013): n. pag.
Web. 19 Sept. 2016.
6930 Carroll Ave, Suite 720, Takoma Park, MD 20912
I
240-396-1981
I
www.chesapellkeclimate.org
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of radiation, an effect known as the Urban Heat Island. Green roofs and urban farming have been
proven to combat the effects of overheating cities. A single degree of cooling thanks to urban farming
can directly affect a city's electricity consumption during increasingly hot summer months, due a
decrease in air conditioner use.
2
Other positive climate and environmental impacts associated with urban farming include: decreased
food transportation miles, decreased household waste through composting and fewer packaged items,
decreased energy consumption and cost spent on storing food, improval of the localized green
economy, improved air quality, increased plant and animal biodiversity and much more.
CCAN supports this bill wholeheartedly and looks forward to a greener and cleaner Montgomery
County.
2
Knizhnik, Heather L. "The Environmental Benefits of Urban Agriculture on Unused, Impermeable and
Semi-Permeable Spaces in Major Cities With a Focus on Philadelphia, PA." (n:d.): n. pag.
University
of
Pennsylvania
-
Departmentof Earth and Environmental Science.
Web. 19 Sept. 2016.
6930 Carroll Ave, Suite 720, Takoma Park, MD 20912
I
240-396-198]
I
www.chesapeakecIimate.org
®
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October 27.2016
Government Operations Committee
Montgomery County Council
100 Maryland Avenue. MD 20850
The opinions expressed herein are our own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Johns
Hopkins University.
My name is Anne Palmer and I direct the Food Communities and Public Health program at
the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) at the Bloomberg School of Public
Health as well as a Research Associate in the Health. Behavior and Society Department. The
CLF is an interdisciplinary academic center that conducts research. educates students. and
directs programs that focus on the relationships among diet. food production. the
environment and public health. I direct a project called Food Policy Networks that seeks to
build the capacity of new and existing food policy councils and similar organizations to
advance state and local food system policies. In addition. I work with several food policy
councils in the Chesapeake region. including the Montgomery Count Food Council.
The Montgomery County Council is considering a legislation that would provide a tax credit
to promote urban agriculture (UA) for land between one-half and five acres .. In light of the
proposed legislation. I am writing to provide information and analysis on what I have
learned about urban agriculture. the well-established benefits it provides. and the areas of
promise. I have several years of experience working with urban agriculture projects in
Baltimore City - non-profit. for profit and hybrid models. In addition. I am a co-author on a
recently released review of peer-reviewed literature entitled "Vacant Lots to Vibrant Plots:
A Review of the Benefits and Limitations of Urban Agriculture."
Our literature review noted several evidence-based benefits - social. health and
environmental- that stem from UA activities. By creating green space where neighbors
can gather to grow food, exercise, and socialize. UA increases sociaJ capital. community
wellbeing. and civic engagement with the food system. It serves as a catalyst for
community organizing and larger community improvement, including a place for young
people to engage in a constructive activity while learning job skills. Green space is also
associated wither lower crime rates and a greater sense of neighborhood pride. UA
activities have been used to teach youth about science. environmental stewardship.
cultural heritage. and healthy eating. while also offering valuable lessons in interpersonal
skills. responsibility. and delayed gratification.
The evidence suggests that urban agriculture provides numerous health benefits. as well.
People engaged in UA report greater access to fresh. organic. or culturally appropriate
produces for gardeners and community members; cost savings on groceries and access to
foods otherwise unaffordable in supermarkets; and increased consumption of produce.
Harder to measure but equally important are the mental health benefits including reducing
stress. providing purposeful activity. stimulating cognitive function. creating a sense of
pride and accomplishment. and connecting to nature in an urban environment.
615 N. Wolfe Street, W7010 1Baltimore, MD 212051410-502-75781 www.jhsph.edu/clf
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The evidence of environmental benefits includes increased biodiversity (supporting
environments with a greater variety of flora and fauna species, which provides habitats and
forage for pollinators such as bees and other beneficial organisms); reduced air pollution;
increased rainwater drainage; reduced risk of flooding, ground water contamination, and
depleted groundwater levels; and composting organic matter.
In addition, some studies have found that UA contributes to measurable economic gains
such as employment and workforce training opportunities, particularly for low-income and
socially excluded populations; and an increase in property values surrounding community
gardens, particularly in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
The CLF commends the Montgomery County Council government for assuming a leadership
role in using urban agriculture as a vehicle for making the County an even more desirable
place to live. Supporting UA activities is one of many steps toward improving public health,
enhancing the environment, and providing opportunities for communities to grow their
own food.
For more information, please contact me at apalmer6@jhu.edu or at 410-502-7577.
Sincerely,
Anne Palmer
Program Director
Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
Research Associate
Department of Health, Behavior, and Society
Bloomberg School of Public Health
Keeve Nachman
Assistant Professor
Department of Environmental Health and Engineering
Bloomberg School of Public Health
Director, Food Production and Public Health Program
Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
Brent Kim
Program Officer
Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
Bloomberg School of Public Health
Raychel Santo
Program Coordinator
Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
Bloomberg School of Public Health
615 N. Wolfe Street, W7010 1Baltimore, MD 212051410-502-75781 www.jhsph.edu/clf
@)
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AGRICULTURAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
September 19, 2016
The Honorable Nancy Floreen
Montgomery County Council President
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850
Dear Council President Floreen:
Bill 31-16- Taxation-Urban Agricultural Tax
Credi t-Established
On behalf of the Montgomery County Agricultural Advisory Committee-AAC, please accept this
letter as our comments for Bill 31-16 Taxation-Urban Agricultural Tax Credit-Established.
The AAC believes the Bill 31-16 may create opportunities to encourage farming
in
down County
areas where a majority of our citizens live and work. Encouraging farming down County can
also help to promote the production of locally grown fresh food that continues to be important
and a popular trend for many residents in the County.
When the County Council approved ZTA 13-04 Zoning Rewrite- Revisions in October of2014,
the Council recommended the use of farming be continued as a use in most of the zones down
county. Both the AAC and the Montgomery County Farm Bureau were very appreciative of this
outcome because we stated that the County should always encourage farming especially ifthe
property owners desired to continue farming.
The AAC recognizes that Bill 31-16 may also have a negative impact on the collections of
property taxes at a time when the County's economy is still recovering from the Great Recession.
The AAC thanks the County Council for this opportunity to present our views on Bill 31-16 and
please let us know if you have any questions.
Sincerely,
David Weitzer, Chairman
Department of Economic Development-Agricultural Services Division
18410 Muncaster Road
.
Derwood. Maryland 20855
.
301/590-2823,
FAX
301/590-2839