The County Council has approved six new agricultural preservation districts, a distinction that gives the owners the opportunity to sell development rights on the properties to the state under the Maryland Agricultural Preservation Program.

The council voted 6-0 Tuesday to create six county agricultural preservation districts. Joanne S. Parrott, R-District B, abstained from the vote because of a controversy over one farm.

The properties accepted as agricultural districts in the county are:

* 181.37 acres owned by Edward Garono of Darlington.

* 101 acres owned by Rodney Hyson of Street.

* 71 acres owned by Priscilla Knight of Pylesville.

* 156 acres owned by David Rose of White Hall.

* 214.60 acres, divided into two districts of 107.3 acres each, owned by William Worthington of Havre de Grace.

Creating agricultural preservation districts at the county level is the first step a landowner must take before applying to sell property development rights to the state, said Michael Paone, agricultural planner with the planning and zoning department.

The process is usually a routine matter once the property has met the standards for an agricultural district, which include evaluating the soil content and proof of ownership, Paone said.

There was debate among council members when they learned of a dispute regarding the Garono property.

In a letter to the council, Sharon Duncan, who purchased land from Garono's sister, notified the council of pending litigation involving the Garono family estate. Duncan said in her letter that Garono has placed a claim on her property, citing a family agreement on the first right of refusal on the sale of any interest in the family owned land.

"The requested sale of his development rights and the placement of his property in an agricultural easement could possibly fall into the category of the 'sale of any interest in the subject property,' " Duncan wrote.

Paone told council members that the county law department had reviewed the case and determined that there would be no problem in allowing Garono to proceed with his application.

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