15.15.11.03

.03 Criteria.

A. Approval. The approval for a corrective easement by the Foundation is not an absolute right of a landowner, and requests shall be reviewed by the Foundation on a case-by-case basis. A request shall be reviewed to determine if the proposed corrective easement will either enhance or have no effect upon any agricultural operation being conducted upon the land. A corrective easement may be used to adjust boundary lines, resolve easement violations, or accommodate a plan that the Foundation has determined will benefit the agricultural operations on the land encumbered by an easement, and may include such other additional terms, conditions, waivers, or restrictions that the Foundation deems appropriate to protect the agricultural viability of the farm.

B. Form of Corrective Easement. A corrective easement may be titled “Amendment to Easement”, “Amendment and Grant to Easement”, or “Corrective Easement.” A corrective easement may also take the form of an “Overlay Easement” when, in the opinion of the Foundation, the existing easement may not be amended because all necessary parties cannot be joined.

C. Boundary Line Adjustment.

(1) If the proposed corrective easement involves the adjustment of boundary lines and part of the land encumbered by the easement is to be released, then:

(a) An equal or greater amount of land of equal or better soil types shall be added to the land under easement;

(b) The value of the easement will not be diminished by the proposed exchange;

(c) The proposed exchange shall be approved by the Board of Public Works; and

(d) The landowner shall pay for the cost of all title work, title insurance premiums, surveys, and documentation necessary on both the land under easement and the land to be added by corrective easement.

(2) If the proposed corrective easement involves the adjustment of boundary lines and no part of the land encumbered by the easement is to be released, then the Foundation may approve the corrective easement if it will either enhance or have no effect upon the agricultural operations being conducted upon the land. The Foundation may not pay additional consideration for land gained by any corrective easement without Board of Public Works approval.

(3) If the proposed corrective easement only involves the correction of an error in the legal description contained in the easement, the Executive Director of the Foundation may approve the correction of the error, with the concurrence of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and the Secretary of Agriculture.

D. Resolving Easement Violations. If the Foundation approves a corrective easement in order to resolve a violation of the easement, the landowner shall pay for the cost of all title work, title insurance premiums, surveys, and documentation necessary to cure the violation.

E. Accommodation of a Plan to Benefit the Agricultural Operation.

(1) If the Foundation approves a corrective easement in order to accommodate a plan to benefit the agricultural operation, the landowner shall pay for the cost of all title work, title insurance premiums, surveys, and documentation necessary to accommodate the plan.

(2) If the Foundation approves an agricultural subdivision under the provisions of COMAR 15.15.12.01 et seq., the approval is considered to be an accommodation of a plan to benefit the agricultural operation and shall constitute an approval for corrective easements.

(3) A landowner’s application to waive the right to request termination under Agriculture Article, §2-514, Annotated Code of Maryland, and to amend the easement to so specify, is considered to be an accommodation of a plan to benefit the agricultural operation. The Executive Director of the Foundation shall automatically approve the request, with the concurrence of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and the Secretary of Agriculture.

F. Previously Approved Agricultural Subdivision. If, prior to the enactment of this chapter, the Foundation approved an agricultural subdivision of the land, without requiring all owners of the divided parcels to execute corrective easements to recognize the approved divided parcels, all owners of the divided parcels shall agree to the proposed amendment of an easement. If all owners do not agree, the corrective easement may take the form of an overlay easement from the landowners making the request for a corrective easement.

G. Single Tax Parcel. If possible, land that has been approved for corrective easement which is comprised of more than one tax parcel shall be consolidated into a single tax parcel with identification number. In the event of approval of an agricultural subdivision, if possible, each resulting subdivided parcel shall be a single tax parcel with identification number.

H. Existing Easement Violations. The Foundation may refuse to approve a request for a corrective easement if an easement violation exists upon the land.