HAGERSTOWN, MD – The Washington County Department of Planning & Zoning has announced the successful preservation of a 233-acre farm near Smithsburg in Washington County, Maryland.
Through the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program (MALPP), a local farmer recently sold a conservation easement to safeguard the agricultural integrity of the land. Administered by the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) at the state level and locally by the Washington County Department of Planning & Zoning, the program aims to preserve highly productive agricultural land and protect it from future development.
The preservation process involves a Purchase of Development Rights (PDR), wherein the landowner voluntarily sells their rights to pursue residential, commercial, and industrial development on the property to the easement holder. The landowner maintains full ownership of the property while ensuring its perpetual agricultural use.
Funding for MALPP comes from the Maryland Department of Agriculture as well as Washington County’s Agricultural Transfer Tax and Real Estate Transfer Tax. On average, the program compensates landowners approximately $4,800 per acre. With the addition of this easement, Washington County now boasts a total of over 15,600 preserved acres through the MALPP program and more than 39,700 acres over all land preservation programs.
For further information about the MALPP program and other land preservation initiatives offered by the County, please reach out to Chris Boggs, Rural Preservation Administrator, at 240-313-2447 or via email at [email protected].