15.15.12.04

.04 Subdivision Prohibition.

A. Prohibition. Except as approved by the Foundation as provided by this chapter and in COMAR 15.15.01.17C. and 15.15.06.01—.06, a landowner may not subdivide land encumbered by an easement, including the movement of interior boundary lines, or transfer or cause to be transferred, any part or parts separately from the total acreage of the land, voluntarily, involuntarily, by testamentary disposition, or by reason of foreclosure or bankruptcy.

B. Exception for Agricultural Subdivision. The Foundation may give written approval to a landowner’s request for an agricultural subdivision of the land and separate ownership of the resulting divided parcels for reasons the Foundation considers sufficiently extraordinary to justify an exception to the prohibition against subdivision. The approval for an agricultural subdivision is not an absolute right of a landowner, and requests shall be reviewed by the Foundation on a case-by-case basis to determine if, in the Foundation’s opinion:

(1) The proposed agricultural subdivision serves an agricultural purpose;

(2) The proposed agricultural subdivision will enhance or have no effect upon the agricultural operations being conducted upon the land; and

(3) The resulting divided parcels from the agricultural subdivision are able to sustain long-term agricultural production, independent of each other.

C. Corrective Easements. If the Foundation approves an agricultural subdivision under this Chapter, approval shall be to accommodate a plan that the Foundation has determined will benefit the agricultural operation as required by Agriculture Article, §2-513, Annotated Code of Maryland, and COMAR 15.15.11. Corrective easements are required to formalize the Foundation’s approval. The corrective easements may include other additional terms, conditions, waivers, or restrictions that the Foundation considers appropriate to protect the agricultural purpose and the future profitability of resulting divided farm parcels. The landowner shall pay for the cost of all title work, title insurance premiums, surveys, and documentation necessary to complete the agricultural subdivision.

D. Waiver of Right to Request Termination. For easements approved for purchase by the Board of Public Works prior to October 1, 2004, the owners of all of the resulting divided parcels of an approved agricultural subdivision under this chapter shall waive the right to request termination under Agriculture Article, §2-514, Annotated Code of Maryland, and shall agree to specify the waiver in the corrective easements.

E. Acreage and Soils Requirements for Agricultural Subdivision. The resulting divided parcels shall each be at least 50 acres, and each parcel shall meet the minimum soils requirement, as provided by COMAR 15.15.01.03D.

F. Exceptions to Acreage Requirement. The Foundation may permit resulting divided parcels of less than 50 acres of land if:

(1) The resulting parcel of less than 50 acres continues to meet minimum soil requirements as provided by COMAR 15.15.01.03D independently of the original farm and one of the following conditions exists for the resulting divided parcel comprised of less than 50 acres:

(a) The Foundation determines that there exists a physical separation of land, created by:

(i) Bodies of water;

(ii) Public roads; or

(iii) Features that significantly restrict the movement of agricultural equipment from one portion of the land to another;

(b) The resulting divided parcel comprised of less than 50 acres is conveyed to owners of adjoining land encumbered by an easement in favor of the Foundation, and both of the following occur:

(i) The owner amends the easement encumbering the adjoining land to encumber the resulting divided parcel, or an overlay easement in favor of the Foundation is placed over the entire acreage constituting the resulting divided parcel and the adjoining land; and

(ii) The resulting divided parcel and the adjoining land together meet minimum soils requirements as provided by COMAR 15.15.01.03D; or

(c) The resulting divided parcel comprised of less than 50 acres:

(i) Is conveyed to owners of adjoining land encumbered by an easement containing terms which are acceptable to the Foundation; and

(ii) An overlay easement in favor of the Foundation is placed over the entire acreage constituting the resulting divided parcel and the adjoining land.

(2) The resulting divided parcel or parcels remaining after the subdivision of the smaller parcel are at least 50 acres and continue to meet the minimum soils criteria, as provided by COMAR 15.15.01.03D.

G. Tenant House. If a tenant house was previously approved by the Foundation under COMAR 15.15.03 and it currently exists upon the land, an agricultural subdivision may be approved only if the following are met:

(1) The resulting divided parcel on which the tenant house is situated is at least 100 acres, unless the Foundation approves otherwise according to COMAR 15.15.03.03 or §F of this regulation; and

(2) The corrective easement restricts the tenant house to the use of a tenant as that term is defined in COMAR 15.15.03.02.

H. Existing Easement Violation. The Foundation may deny a request for an agricultural subdivision if an easement violation exists upon the land.