Carroll County's farmland preservation program got a boost yesterday when the planning commission recommended that about 1,600 acres remain undeveloped for at least the next five years.
The county's goal is to permanently set aside 100,000 acres for agricultural use by 2020.
So far, 25,679 acres have been preserved, and another 18,307 are in agricultural preservation districts -- the first step toward permanent preservation.
Twelve owners of 13 rural parcels, ranging from 25 acres to 172 acres, want the County Commissioners to put their parcels into agricultural preservation districts so they can become eligible for a state program that would pay them to keep their property from being developed.
The Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended unanimously yesterday that the commissioners do exactly that. The commissioners will hold a public hearing on the request May 27.
If the commissioners agree, Carroll will have placed 2,233 acres into agricultural preservation districts this year, a total that could keep Carroll in second place nationally as a preserver of farmland. Montgomery County, which uses high-density clustered development as a means of preserving open space, is first. Lancaster County, Pa., is third.
Getting a property designated as an agricultural preservation district is the first step owners must take if they want the state to buy easements that would keep their property from being developed.
It is not a quick process. It takes nearly a year for the state to get the appraisals and do the other work necessary to decide which properties statewide will be preserved.
If the commissioners agree to make preservation districts of the 13 properties, the parcels would be evaluated in the fiscal year beginning July 1. Owners who are successful in selling easements would likely receive payment by next spring.
The average price per acre paid for Carroll easements last year was $1,835 and is likely to be higher this year.
Although not everyone will be successful selling easements to the state their first year in the program, all have to agreed not to develop their parcels for five years. Those who are not successful the first year try again the next, but will be competing with new properties.
This year, three out of every five Carroll property owners seeking to sell easements are likely to be successful, says William Powel, director of the county's agricultural land preservation program. The owners of 28 Carroll properties sought to sell easements this fiscal year and the state is likely to buy 17 or 18 parcels, he said.
The properties recommended for agricultural district status by the planning commission yesterday were:
25 acres near Hapes Mill Road in Taneytown owned by William and Muriel Holbrook.
40 acres near East Saw Mill Road in Westminster owned by George W. Della Jr.
90 acres near Nicodemus Road in Westminster owned by W. James and Dixie L. Hindman.
112 acres near Piney Creek Road in Taneytown owned by Clyde and Rhoda Weant.
113 acres near Carrollton Road in Hampstead owned by Lippy Brothers Inc.
118 acres near Alesia Road in Manchester owned by Wilfred and Anne L. Wright.
133 acres near Uniontown Road in Westminster owned by Robert A. and Phyllis M. Scott.
141 acres near Mill Dale Lane in New Windsor owned by James H. and Edna S. McNemar.
146 acres near Piney Creek Road in Taneytown owned by Ruby K. Lord.
151 acres north of Hawks Hill Road in New Windsor owned by Rauland H. and Talitha A. Roop.
170 acres near Lees Mill Road in Hampstead owned by Lippy Brothers Inc.
172 acres near Naylors Mill Road in Detour owned by the Charles R. Clabaugh Trust.
172 acres near Bloom Road in Westminster owned by Charles D. and Jill Sutton Perzynski.
Pub Date: 5/20/98