15.15.13.04

.04 County Application Procedure.

A. Before the Foundation may consider a proposal for a forest easement overlay, applicants shall first submit the following information to their county program administrator:

(1) A current soil conservation and water quality plan, developed by the local soil conservation district, that describes the resource conservation purpose served;

(2) For properties with 25 acres or more in contiguous woodland or where required by an underlying easement, a forest stewardship plan or forest management plan, developed within the past 10 years by a Maryland-licensed forester, which provides for sustainable forest stewardship and management practices, including prescribed harvests;

(3) If a soil conservation and water quality plan is not required because the property is 100 percent woodland, proof of a forest stewardship plan or forest management plan, developed within the last 10 years by a Maryland-licensed professional forester, describing the resource conservation purpose served; and

(4) A completed Foundation application, including an assessment of the following criteria:

(a) The restrictions that would be imposed on the current and future production options for the land;

(b) The potential effect of the forest easement on the ability of subsequent owners of the land to conduct profitable activities on the land;

(c) The amount of land proposed for forest easement;

(d) The productivity of the soil or soils; and

(e) The resource conservation purpose being served.

B. The county program administrator shall:

(1) Review the application and supporting documentation for completeness;

(2) Present the application and supporting documentation to the county agricultural land preservation advisory board for its recommendation;

(3) Present the application and supporting documentation to the applicable county’s planning authority for approval; and

(4) Send the proposal to the Foundation if the county agricultural land preservation advisory board recommends the proposal and the applicable county’s planning authority approves the proposal, with documentation verifying the recommendation and approval.

C. When the county agricultural land preservation advisory board reviews a forest easement overlay proposal, it shall consider the Foundation’s criteria for review set forth in Regulation .05B and C of this chapter and convey the basis for its recommendation to the Foundation.

D. For forest mitigation proposals, the local government, whether it is the county program administrator or another responsible party chosen by the county, shall also identify in writing the type of development activity for which mitigation is required, locate the development activity on an appropriate map, inform the Foundation if the development activity is subject to the county’s approval and, if it is, verify that the county either has approved the project or believes that the development project is consistent with the plans, ordinances, and regulations governing its approval.