15.15.05.04

.04 Foundation Review.

A. Notice to County of Landowner's Request. Upon receipt of a landowner's request for review to terminate an easement on the form provided by the Foundation, the Foundation shall notify the governing body of the county where the land is located of the landowner's request.

B. Inquiry. The Foundation shall conduct an inquiry to determine whether profitable farming is feasible on the land, and issue a decision within 180 days after receiving the landowner's request for termination, unless:

(1) The parties mutually agree in writing to extend the 180-day period; or

(2) The landowner requests a hearing under §E of this regulation.

C. In determining whether profitable farming is feasible on the land, the Foundation's inquiry shall include:

(1) An on-site inspection of the subject land;

(2) A public hearing, conducted by the Foundation, after adequate public notice within the county where the land is located;

(3) A determination of the productive capacity of the land;

(4) A consideration of the effect of any nonagricultural development contiguous to the land;

(5) An assessment of the extent to which markets exist for any agricultural products that can be produced on the land;

(6) A determination of the profitability of nearby farms, if this information is readily available to the Foundation;

(7) An opinion of an expert as to the future feasibility of profitable farming on the land; and

(8) Any other information that the Foundation considers relevant in determining whether future profitable farming is feasible on the land.

D. Standard of Review.

(1) In determining the feasibility of profitable farming, the lack of ability of the particular landowner seeking termination of the easement to profitably farm may not be the standard by which feasibility of profitable farming is measured.

(2) The standard by which feasibility of profitable farming is measured shall be whether the land of the farm in question could be profitably farmed.

E. Hearing Notice.

(1) In accordance with Agriculture Article, §2-514(h)(2), Annotated Code of Maryland, the Foundation shall provide the landowner with notice of the opportunity for a contested case hearing, as defined by the Administrative Procedure Act, before issuing any final decision to terminate.

(2) A landowner's opportunity for a hearing is waived if the landowner fails to request a hearing within 30 days of the Foundation's hearing notice.