Frederick County group eyes farm growth rights

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
09/242013
The nine people charged with designing a market for selling farm growth rights agree that the new program should be straightforward and promote agricultural preservation. Reaching consensus on the details could be another matter, and time is in short supply. County commissioners gave the work group a November deadline for hammering out a proposed transfer of development rights program. While the group spent its first three meetings discussing options for the program, they still have some knotty issues to untangle, such as whether shifting growth rights would actually increase development rather than preserve farmland. A TDR program allows farmers to sell their subdivision rights to other property owners.

County to consider letting farmers sell growth rights

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/21/2013
Owners of agricultural land in Frederick County might eventually bring to market their development rights as well as their farm produce. A nine-person work group has formed to consider allowing farmers to sell their property’s growth potential to land owners elsewhere in the county. A transfer of development rights program would allow farmers to drum up cash without selling off their land piece-by-piece, supporters of the idea said. “My goal is to give the farmer more tools in the toolbox to keep their farms working farms because, really, their land is their 401(k),” Commissioners President Blaine Young said. “So what this allows them to do is basically access their 401(k) by selling their development rights.” It can also be used for conservation. The county has preserved thousands of acres through purchase programs, but these initiatives rely on a limited pool of taxpayer funding. Creating a TDR program could leverage private dollars for the same purpose. The programs are a way of decoupling development rights from a property and treating them as a separate commodity.