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By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | March 17, 2014
A bill that could allow hundreds of acres of preserved farmland to be converted to wind farms or other renewable energy projects was approved Monday by the House of Delegates, 97 to 33. Supporters say farmers need the ability to diversify their income to stay viable. Some conservationists, though, worry that the measure would open the door to other commercial activities, ultimately undermining the viability of farmland preserved at taxpayer expense. The bill was amended to sunset after five years and to limit the types of permitted energy projects to wind or solar farms or anaerobic digestion of poultry manure.
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NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | March 28, 2014
The Senate approved legislation Thursday that will allow some renewable energy generation equipment to be placed on land that farmers have put under agricultural easements, sending its version to the House. The 44-3 vote would clear the way for farmers to enter into contracts with companies that produce energy from solar panels, windmills, chicken litter or cattle manure to use their land for those facilities in exchange for payment. Those payments would be on top of the money farmers had already received from the state for putting land into permanent conservation.
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NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | March 6, 2014
Hundreds of acres of Maryland farmland that are protected from development at taxpayer expense could be turned into commercial wind or solar energy farms under legislation before the General Assembly. Farm groups and the O'Malley administration support the move, which they say could help struggling farmers stay viable while boosting prospects for "clean" renewable energy. Bills pending in House and Senate committees would let landowners who have sold their development rights to the state use up to 5 acres each for generating electricity from wind, sunshine or even decomposing animal and crop waste.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | March 6, 2014
Hundreds of acres of Maryland farmland that are protected from development at taxpayer expense could be turned into commercial wind or solar energy farms under legislation before the General Assembly. Farm groups and the O'Malley administration support the move, which they say could help struggling farmers stay viable while boosting prospects for "clean" renewable energy. Bills pending in House and Senate committees would let landowners who have sold their development rights to the state use up to 5 acres each for generating electricity from wind, sunshine or even decomposing animal and crop waste.
NEWS
By Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun | December 6, 2012
This Howard County movie has played before: the County Council considering laws to restrict rural land development, farmers staging a tractor parade protesting what they see as an attack on their property values, public officials saying preservation efforts would only push landowners into the arms of developers. Scenes from farmland development fights of 1985 and 1988 have unfolded again lately, albeit with fewer tractors in the parade, fewer farmers in the dispute and about half as much farmland to argue about.
NEWS
By Mary Gail Hare and Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF | January 17, 2002
Two Carroll commissioners have reached a compromise on revising a contentious zoning ordinance that led the Maryland Department of Planning to threaten to cut the county's coveted land preservation funds. Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Julia Walsh Gouge said their proposed revisions, particularly one calling for clustering building lots on the least productive or untillable parcels of farmland, should be palatable to the state. Clustering building lots would leave more space open, and directing construction to untillable land would reduce the number of lots available for development.
NEWS
October 13, 1992
Harford County's farmland preservation bill died a silent death last week as a divided county council declined to vote on the controversial measure that could shape land use into the next century. That was appropriate, given the belated opposition and reservations voiced by those who would be most affected, Harford's working farmers.Despite the lamentations of the county executive, the Rural Plan will be resurrected in November and the council should then act on the amended bill. Aims of the plan are laudable, and the two years of molding the proposal were not wasted.
NEWS
By Mike Burns | May 7, 2000
HOW MUCH land does a man need?" That was the perplexing question asked in the classic Tolstoy short story of the same name. The central character, Pakhom, eventually found his answer the hard way. Land represented wealth in the 19th-century Russian story, land for farming, of course. And so it does today. City dwellers must have looked with envy at the recent federal Agriculture Department survey showing that Maryland agricultural land was the fifth most expensive in the nation. A farm acre in the Free State averaged $3,500 last year, compared with a mere $1,050 as the national (continental)
NEWS
By Ted Shelsby | September 3, 2006
Restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay will require a healthy agricultural economy in the region, according to a new report by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation that encourages all Marylanders - including city dwellers - to take a role in the effort to maintain farmland. "The loss of farms and forest land endangers the fabric of rural life, local economies and the health of the region's rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay," says the report, which was written by Lee Epstein, director of the foundation's lands program.
NEWS
September 23, 1992
Harford County's proposed Rural Plan aims to please everyone: non-farmers, by preserving vanishing farmland for the community's heritage; government officials, by directing growth to minimize investments in new public facilities, and farmers, by paying them to keep their land in farming.It's a laudable objective for a rapidly growing county that has lost a third of its agricultural land in the last 25 years to housing, shopping centers and industrial construction. Although it is only a policy guideline for future laws, this document will shape Harford land use well into the next century.
NEWS
March 5, 2014
The desecration of the pristine farmland to build another industrial site by a development company (or should that be un-development company?) is sad ( "2 large buildings planned in Perryman industrial area," March 4). There are just too many industrial sites and shopping malls. The project should be stopped and the land use remain the same. The accompanying photo is a good example why Gov. Martin O'Malley's "rain" tax is good and necessary in curtailing the excessive water runoff in Maryland.
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | January 16, 2014
Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed state budget is balanced in part with funds shifted from programs meant to buy parkland and protect farmland from development, according to highlights of the plan released by the governor's office. Conservationists say the move short-changes land preservation, which they note has been a priority of the O'Malley administration. While O'Malley's fiscal 2015 spending plan would increase funding for natural resources and the environment by 1 percent overall, land preservation programs face cuts as tax revenues designated for that purpose are taken to help balance the state's budget.
NEWS
January 2, 2013
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman probably never expected the first veto of his six years in office to involve a land use bill, particularly one that he was compelled to seek by state law. But that's what happened, and between now and Monday it's up to his administration to pick up the pieces of what should have been a no-brainer - a local ordinance to preserve farmland and open space in the western end of the county. First, a bit of history. Remember concern over septic systems and the health of the Chesapeake Bay?
NEWS
By Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun | December 6, 2012
This Howard County movie has played before: the County Council considering laws to restrict rural land development, farmers staging a tractor parade protesting what they see as an attack on their property values, public officials saying preservation efforts would only push landowners into the arms of developers. Scenes from farmland development fights of 1985 and 1988 have unfolded again lately, albeit with fewer tractors in the parade, fewer farmers in the dispute and about half as much farmland to argue about.
NEWS
By Janene Holzberg, For The Baltimore Sun | December 6, 2012
Run by three county commissioners instead of a county executive, Howard County was a different place in the early 1960s. As required of all counties by the Maryland General Assembly in 1953, Howard had finally approved its General Plan in 1960, a much-heralded document based on local officials' recognition that the county was "ripe for development," said Barbara Kellner, manager of the Columbia Archives. Soon after, Charles Miller, J. Robert Black and David Force banded together to run for office on a no-growth platform and won their seats on Nov. 2, 1962.
EXPLORE
By Nicole Lynn Mullinix | November 30, 2012
If you are looking for a group of people that have an appreciation and deep love for the beauty of Howard County farmland, you need not look any further than the Mullinix family. I sit with my father on our front porch in Dayton every season as we're both rendered speechless by the beautiful sunset before us. At these moments I can't imagine anyone being so lucky, so fortunate as to enjoy this amazement. From our front porch I sit in awe of property that my family has owned for as long as I have lived.
NEWS
By Amy L. Miller and Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Writer | April 26, 1995
Members of the state Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation got a good look at the jewel in their farmland protection crown yesterday during a tour of some preserved areas in northwestern Carroll County."
NEWS
By TED SHELSBY | August 20, 2006
High farmland prices - already considered the biggest threat to the future of Maryland agriculture - are continuing to rise as land becomes scarcer. Driven by one of the hottest real estate development markets in the nation, Maryland farmland value rose 12.7 percent last year to $8,900 an acre, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey. That figure is for land that is sold and continues to be used for farming, an increasingly uncommon scenario in Maryland, say state agriculture officials.
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | November 14, 2012
As state and local officials weigh Maryland's first request by any farmer to reclaim development rights voluntarily sold to the state decades ago, preservation advocates and state planners warn that permissive zoning in some rural counties threaten to erode the state's remaining open space. The Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation is holding a public hearing at 6 p.m. Thursday (11/15) at the Howard County Fairgrounds on the requests by a partnership of three county farmers, Mike, Steve and Mark Mullinix, to terminate easements barring development on three farms they operate with a combined 490 acres.
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