A. This chapter provides the eligibility criteria for a landowner to request that the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation terminate an agricultural land preservation easement. Each easement granted to the Foundation is of perpetual duration and may be terminated only under extraordinary circumstances. The easement's broad purpose is to:
(1) Provide a present and future source of agricultural products within the State for the citizens of the State;
(2) Control urban expansion, which is consuming the agricultural land and woodland of the State;
(3) Curb the spread of urban blight and deterioration; and
(4) Protect agricultural land and woodland as open-space land.
B. Before an easement is purchased by the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, a county shall first provide approval, based on whether the farm acreage to be preserved is compatible with existing and approved county plans and overall county policy.
C. If any easement was approved for purchase by the Board of Public Works before October 1, 2004, it may be reviewed for possible termination 25 years after the purchase, unless the right to apply to terminate was specifically waived in the deed of easement.
D. As each easement, and Agriculture Article, §2-514, Annotated Code of Maryland, provides, the termination shall be approved by the Foundation and by the county governing body where the land is located. Similar to when an easement is purchased, the Foundation and the county have separate duties and responsibilities when reviewing an easement for possible termination. In the case of easement termination, the Foundation's responsibility is to determine whether future profitable farming is feasible on the land under easement. The Foundation may only approve the termination if it finds that future profitable farming is not feasible. A county's separate responsibility is to consider factors relating to local land use policies. If either the Foundation or the county fail to agree, an easement may not be terminated.