Local Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) /Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Programs
A dozen Counties have their own programs to use County funds to purchase development rights (PDR) from rural landowners. About the same number have created Transfer of Development Rights or TDR programs; in these programs private developers purchase the development rights from a landowner in a designated “sending zone” or an area designated for agricultural preservation. These development rights are then transferred to a place where development is desired (the “receiving zone”). By purchasing TDRs, private developers can build more housing units or commercial square footage than he or she could without buying TDRs. The benefit of a TDR program is that land is preserved by private rather than public dollars.
Other Preservation Programs
Almost 48,000 acres of agriculturally and ecologically significant lands have been protected by private conservation organizations in Maryland.
The Certification Program was created by the General Assembly in 1991. Counties with an effective local agricultural land preservation program that wish to be certified apply to both MDP and MALPF. The certification program has three goals:
- Maintain contributions of farming to the economy and a quality environment;
- Encourage county programs that complement MALPF to preserve viable land, manage growth, and preserve environmental quality; and
- Ensure that increased county expenditures of agricultural land transfer tax are cost-effective.
Sixteen of Maryland’s twenty-three counties are currently certified. Certification allows counties to retain 75% of the locally generated agricultural land transfer tax revenue. Counties that are not certified keep 33% of the agricultural land transfer tax and remit 67% of the funds to the State, for use by MALPF. Certified counties must use funds from other county sources to match the extra 42% of the agricultural land transfer tax that they retain as a result of certification. Certification also represents recognition by the State that a county has developed and is maintaining an effective preservation program, wherein public investment in conservation is being protected by the county’s land use management authority.
The Agricultural Stewardship Act of 2006 required certified counties to establish Priority Preservation Areas (PPAs) in their comprehensive plans and manage them according to certain criteria. To remain certified, MDP and MALPF must approve a certified county’s PPA and their strategy to meet these requirements. There are two sets of requirements, relating to conditions in the PPA itself and to the county comprehensive plan.
The PPA must:
- Contain productive agricultural or forest soils, and be capable of supporting profitable agricultural and forestry enterprises;
- Be governed by local policies that stabilize the agricultural and forest land base and provide time for easement acquisition before goals are undermined by development;
- Be large enough to support normal agricultural and/ or forestry activities; and
- Be accompanied by the county’s acreage goal for land to be preserved through easements and zoning in the PPA equal to at least 80% of the remaining undeveloped acres of land in the area.
The comprehensive plan must:
- Establish appropriate goals for the amount and types of agricultural resource land to be preserved in a PPA;
- Include maps showing the county PPA;
- Describe the kinds of agricultural production the county intends to support and the amount of development the county intends to allow;
- Describe the way in which preservation goals will be accomplished in the PPA;
- Include an evaluation of the ability of the county’s zoning and other land use management practices to limit the impact of subdivision and development; and
- Describe how the county’s plan for the PPA will stabilize the land base, allow time for easement purchase, and achieve preservation goals before the agricultural land resource is excessively compromised by development.
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) - receives funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and protects water quality by removing marginal agricultural land from production and replacing it with best management practices including riparian buffers, stabilization of highly erodible soils and restoration of wetlands. The lands are then conserved through a permanent conservation easement.
Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) provided funds to preserve scenic views along transportation corridors. Almost all these easement in Maryland are in Washington County.
The federal Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRPP) also buys easements. These three programs have preserved about 10,000 acres in Maryland.
- New Regulations to Define “Local” Foods Published in the Maryland Register MDA 12.17.10
- Statement from Gov. O'Malley on Federal Crop Disaster Designation MDA 11.8.10
- Agriculture Secretary Visits Carroll County Schools to Present Farm-to-School Youth Video Contest Awards MDA 10.27.10
- New Phosphorus-based Rules Allow for Manure Application to Soybeans MDA 10.21.10
- State Department of Agriculture Honors Employees with Long Service Awards MDA 10.5.10