Md. weighs 311 more acres for farmland preservation

March 30, 1994|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Writer

Four Carroll County farms totaling 311 acres were accepted into the state's agricultural land preservation program this month. Another five easements, accepted in 1993, have gone to settlement.

A fifth farm, of 95.17 acres, is expected to be approved by the state's Board of Public Works within a few weeks, an intermediate step in the process, said William Powel, Carroll County's agricultural land preservation program administrator.

"[It] is scheduled for a board meeting either the 30th of this month or the sixth of April," he said. "We expect them all to pass the Board of Public Works."

The settled easements, which were approved by the board in June, totaled about 195 acres, Mr. Powel said. "The state instructs me that an easement sale is confidential from application until settlement," he said, explaining that program regulations prohibit him from revealing the owners of the most recently accepted farms. Those farmers had applied in 1993.

"The state has made the offer," Mr. Powel said. "The owner can always turn it down and not go to settlement."

Under Maryland's agricultural preservation program, created in 1977, farmers are voluntarily selling their right to develop their land.

The value of that right is calculated as the difference between the assessed value as farmland and what the land would be worth if developed.

The easement, accepted by the state Board of Public Works in a competitive bidding process, remains with the deed and prohibits future buyers from developing the land, Mr. Powel said.

"The [farmers] which received an offer were those whose asking prices were the most competitive," he said.

During fiscal year 1993, the average easement offer in Carroll County was $1,700 per acre, Mr. Powel said.

The five settled easements were purchased from:

* William R. and Mary JoAnn Glacken for about 38 acres. The state paid $127,182 for the easement.

* Jerry and Elizabeth Stambaugh for 17.81 acres on Jasontown Road. The state paid $49,551.85 for the easement.

* Elizabeth J. Smith and Harold T. Talbert for 92.82 acres. The state paid $137,736 for the easement.

* Donald J. and Joyce E. Kraus for 25.6 acres. The state paid $49,200 for the easement.

* Kenneth R. and Carol Lynn Siegman for 20.45 acres. The state paid $62,241.92 for the easement.

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