15.15.01.17

.17 Use of Land on Which an Easement is Purchased.

A. Provisions to be Included in Easement and County Regulations. Agricultural land preservation easements may be purchased for land in agricultural use which meets the qualifying criteria established under Regulation .03D of this chapter if the easement and county regulations governing the use of the land include the following provisions:

(1) Any agricultural use of land is permitted;

(2) Operation of machinery used in farm production or the processing of agricultural products is permitted;

(3) Normal agricultural operations performed in accordance with good husbandry practices, which do not cause bodily injury or directly endanger human health, are permitted, including sale of farm products produced on the farm where the sales are made, and may generally include up to 25 percent in gross sales of farm products produced locally on other farms.

B. Prohibitions. Except as permitted by Agriculture Article, Title 2, Subtitle 5, Annotated Code of Maryland, a landowner who has sold an agricultural preservation easement to the Foundation is prohibited from using that land for any commercial, industrial, or residential purpose.

C. Dwellings.

(1) Application. Before a lot may be released from an easement's restrictions for the construction of a dwelling house, the landowner shall submit an application to the Foundation that:

(a) The landowner has signed;

(b) Contains a declaration that the lot and dwelling house are only for the use of the landowner or the landowner's child, whichever is the case (if the use is for the landowner's child, identify the child);

(c) Includes signed statements indicating approval of the release from both the local agricultural land preservation advisory board and the county planning and zoning department;

(d) Includes a description of the land to be disturbed by both the dwelling and access to that dwelling, so as to gauge the impact that the dwelling and any access to that dwelling will have on the farm; and

(e) Includes a survey plat or tax map on which the precise location of the proposed lot is noted.

(2) Corporation's or Similar Entity's Request for Children's Lot. The Foundation may not approve an application from a corporation, partnership, or other similar entity to have a child's lot released from an easement's restrictions unless the:

(a) Entity's membership is comprised of family members who are actively engaged in the daily agricultural operations on the land; and

(b) Entity is otherwise eligible to have a lot released.

(3) Owner's Lot. A landowner is entitled to have only one owner's lot released from the easement's restrictions regardless of how land is titled (that is, as tenants in common, in joint tenancy, or in a corporation's or partnership's name).

D. Tenant House. A landowner also may construct housing for tenants fully engaged in the operation of the farm. The procedure for the approval of a tenant house is provided by COMAR 15.15.03.

E. Public Not to be Granted Right of Access or of Use. Purchase of an easement by the Foundation does not grant the public any right of access or right of use of the subject property.

F. Granting Easements and Rights-of-Way.

(1) General Rule. After a landowner has sold an agricultural preservation easement to the Foundation, the landowner may not grant or permit another to establish an easement, right-of-way, or other servitude in that land without the Foundation's written permission.

(2) Exceptions to General Rule. The Foundation may permit an easement or right-of-way to be granted in land subjected to a preservation easement under the following circumstances:

(a) If it is to service a lot released from preservation easement restrictions under Agriculture Article, §2-513, Annotated Code of Maryland;

(b) If it is to service a neighboring farm, provided, however, that its use is restricted to the movement of farm equipment or other items associated with farming.

G. Permitted Uses.

(1) The Foundation may not purchase a preservation easement unless, as provided under Agriculture Article, §2-513, Annotated Code of Maryland, the easement instrument and the regulations in the county in which the easement is to be purchased permit the following uses on that land:

(a) Any farm use of land is permitted;

(b) Operation at any time of any machinery used in farm production or the primary processing of agricultural products is permitted; and

(c) All normal agricultural operations performed in accordance with good husbandry practices which do not cause bodily injury or directly endanger human health are permitted including, but not limited to, sale of farm products produced on the farm where these sales are made.

(2) A landowner may not use land subjected to a preservation easement for any purpose that is otherwise prohibited, inconsistent with, or contrary to State or local law, or the restrictions imposed by the preservation easement.

(3) In determining whether a particular use is inconsistent with or contrary to the preservation easement, the Foundation shall consider the following factors:

(a) Whether it is a commercial, industrial, or residential use;

(b) Whether it will likely have a negative impact on the agricultural operations of the farm on which it is to be implemented;

(c) Whether it has an historical relationship to farming (for example, goose hunting); and

(d) Whether it is temporal, seasonal, or permanent in nature.