Rural Legacy funds to conserve three farms

January 12, 2000|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,SUN STAFF

Three farms in Upperco will be the first properties in northern Baltimore County to be saved from development using money from the state's Rural Legacy Program.

The state Board of Public Works approved agreements recently with the property owners that will save about 180 acres in the Piney Run watershed.

A 60-acre horse farm owned by David and Joann Hayden is the first farm enrolled in the program in the Piney Run area. Contracts on the two other farms are expected to be completed in the next week or so, said Ann Jones, coordinator of the Piney Run Rural Legacy Area, which is administered by the Valleys Planning Council.

The agreements come more than a year after the council won grants totaling $3.5 million from the state and Baltimore County to preserve land under the Rural Legacy Program.

Jones said it has taken time to negotiate with property owners and navigate the bureaucracy of the new program, designed to preserve blocks of land with historic, environmental and agricultural significance that might otherwise not be saved by the state's preservation programs.

The Rural Legacy Program is part of Gov. Parris N. Glendening's Smart Growth initiative.

The agreement with the Haydens pays them $186,738. In return, they've agreed to give up the right to build seven houses on their property.

Agreements are nearly complete with Donald and Gemmell Bruner, who own a 55-acre parcel that borders the Hayden property, and with John and Gloria Beyer, who own a 65-acre crop farm on Dover Road. The Bruners will receive $139,094 and the Beyers will receive $205,677 to preserve their farms, according to Baltimore County officials.

The agreements will bring to four the number of properties that have been preserved in Baltimore County using rural legacy grants. Jones said agreements on five other properties in the Piney Run area are pending. The first property, a 54-acre site on Back River Neck Peninsula, was purchased over the summer.

The Valleys Planning Council hopes to purchase more development rights with the balance of the grant money. The council is awaiting the arrival of a $1.75 million Rural Legacy Grant that it won from the state last year.

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