Carroll's farmland preservation program received parcels totaling 1,484 acres yesterday in one of its largest acquisitions of the decade when the County Commissioners approved keeping the sites free of development for at least five years.
Twelve parcels, ranging from 25 acres to 172 acres, were recommended for designation as agricultural preservation districts, the first step needed to preserve the land permanently.
Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Richard T. Yates voted in favor of the proposal. Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown was absent.
The State Agricultural Preservation Foundation will make a final decision on the designations next month.
If approved, the designation will move the county another step closer to its goal of preserving 100,000 acres for agricultural use by 2020.
"We have a ways to go. After 20 years we are still going to be a little short of having a third [of the 100,000 acres] preserved," said William Powel, director of the county's agricultural land preservation program.
Before landowners can ask the state to buy easements to keep their property from being developed, the land must be designated as an agricultural preservation district.
If the properties are approved as agricultural preservation districts next month, they would be evaluated by the state in the fiscal year beginning July 1.
The state takes about a year to make appraisals and do other work to decide which properties will be preserved.
Competition for farmland preservation funds is stiff. About three out of every five Carroll County landowners seeking easements will be approved by the state.
The average price paid per acre for Carroll easements last year was $1,835, up from previous years.
Landowners who fail to win easements this year are eligible to apply again. All the owners have agreed not to develop their properties for five years.
Powel told the commissioners that the 1,484 acres approved yesterday represented the largest one-time acquisition since 1990, when the county offered incentive payments to farmers who entered the program.
The properties approved for agricultural district status by the County Commissioners 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 Bros. Inc.
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 Bros. Inc.
172 acres near Naylors Mill Road in Detour owned by Charles R. Clabaugh Trust
172 acres near Bloom Road in Westminster owned by Charles D. and Jill Sutton Perzynski.