DNR Rural Legacy Grant Program Protects From Sprawl

28 Feb

Rural Grant Program Buys Acreage in West River

County moves forward with 185-acre purchase that will keep farmland out of the hands of developers.

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 Residents of south county have long publicly declared their desire to keep the area rural. As developers have attempted to encroach, their projects have been vigorously fought by local citizens’ intent on maintaining their bucolic surroundings.

But for property owners and farmers, maintaining rural legacy property can become an overwhelming burden.

“Land rich, cash poor,” is used to describe someone who sits on vast acreage of valuable, developable property, but doesn’t necessarily have an excess of cash flow coming in from agricultural land use.

That is where groups like the Rural Legacy Grant Program come in. The program, administered by the Department of Natural Resources, provides funding to protect large, contiguous tracts of land from sprawl and development.

On Thursday, County Executive John Leopold recognized the Maryland Board of Public Works for approving a $1.9 million purchase of 185 acres of farmland in West River.  The County expects to close on the property within the next month.

Currently, the property is used as a grain farm. The grant allows the landowner to continue to live on and work the property. In exchange, the landowner agrees not to sell or otherwise divide the property for development.

“I am pleased that the Governor, Comptroller and Treasurer have approved these funds to help further our progress in safeguarding the County’s valuable farmland and forests,” County Executive Leopold said. “Anne Arundel County is proud to partner with the State of Maryland in preserving, in perpetuity, our precious natural resources.”

Since 1998, the Program has provided over $7 million in Rural Legacy grant funding to Anne Arundel County.

The West River Property, known as Campbell Farm, is part of a 2,160-acre block of contiguous land including County and State agricultural districts and easements, Rural Legacy easements, and other County owned land.

Tentative plans are to use the property for organic farming and educational tours, as well as the continuation of grain farming.



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