Preservation of farms is a political issue

The Howard County Farmland Preservation Program is a model for the nation. It is certainly the best program in Maryland. It needs to be strengthened and improved. More incentives must be created to make it worth the farmers' while to place their farms in the preservation.

In the public debate, it is critical to separate the issues of farmland preservation (needs fixing!) and zoning/density (does not need fixing).

The zoning put in place in 1992 aggressively preserves farmland. Density Exchange Options and mandatory cluster zoning for parcels greater than 50 acres guarantee that large parcels of land remain open, even after development.

Farmland preservation needs incentives to survive. This is a political issue, not a zoning issue. Property values need to be protected. Anything else is zoning for the very, very rich.

Randall Nixon West Friendship

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