More than most land preservation programs, the language in the deed of easement and the policies of the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program are largely determined by statutory and regulatory language. Because the statute and regulations change over time and because the provisions applying to your property may be unique, to establish what restrictions apply to your easement property, you should first consult your deed of easement. While the Foundation strives to keep its regulations consistent with the law, when the statutory language in the Code of the Public Laws of Maryland conflicts with the regulatory language in COMAR, the statutory language applies.
Code of the Public Laws of Maryland. Agriculture Article. Title 2. Department of Agriculture. Subtitle 5. Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation. (Update through December 31, 2018.)
The Code of the Public Laws of Maryland is the compilation of legislation that composes Maryland’s statutory code. The text provided here from Title 2 of the Agriculture Article is the statutory language most directly applicable to the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation. There is additional language elsewhere in the Code concerning issues such as MALPF’s sources of funding that will be added at a later date. Please note that the applicable selection from Title 2 of the Agriculture Article, as provided here, is a 22 page document. The selection from Title 5 of the State Finance and Procurement Article, is a 3 page document. These documents are provided for reference purposes only; the most recent version of legislation can be found at http://www.mlis.state.md.us.
Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR). Title 15. Department of Agriculture. Subtitle 15. Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation. This subtitle contains most of the regulations that govern MALPF. (Update through December 31, 2018.)
COMAR is the compilation of regulations that interprets and supplements the Code of the Public Laws of Maryland. The regulations in Title 15 provided here are those that most directly apply to the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program. There may be some additional regulatory language addressing the Program more indirectly. When identified, those regulations will be added to those posted here. Please note that these documents are provided for reference purposes only; only the printed version of COMAR is legally binding. The applicable selection from Title 15 is a 47 page document; the applicable selection from Title 34 is a 9 page document. COMAR is in the public domain, and the sections cited here (and any recent changes) can be found at: http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/.
Current Standard Deed of Easement (Adobe Acrobat/pdf format) (revision: 10/28/2014). This deed of easement is the model for the FY 2017/18 easement offer cycle.
This deed of easement is the legal agreement between the landowner and the Foundation that restricts the future uses of the landowner's property. The landowner is selling development rights and imposing certain other restrictions on the property to benefit of the State of Maryland to preserve the property for agricultural use. The deed of easement is binding on all future owners of the property. Potential participants in the Program should review this document carefully with legal counsel – it represents what is being purchased by the Foundation. Because the terms of the Foundation’s deed of easement are largely determined by statutory and regulatory language, the easement cannot be tailored to fit each landowner's individual situation.
Someone seeking information on the restrictions applying to a specific property should consult that property’s deed of easement recorded among the County’s public land records. Easement language has evolved over time in response to statutory and regulatory changes, changes in policies adopted by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, and the Foundation’s experience administering the Program. Further, some easements include additional restrictions at the request of the landowner, county, or Board of Trustees, for example, eliminating the termination clause to meet IRS standards for the deduction of any charitable element of the easement transaction or eliminating additional development rights. Finally, the Foundation draws on multiple funding sources, some of whom require specific easement language that differs from the standard deed of easement.
Please note that all deeds of easement acquired by an option contract approved by the Board of Public Works after September 30, 2004, are explicitly perpetual, as required by House Bill 777 passed during the 2004 legislative session.
Final District Agreement (Adobe Acrobat/pdf format) (revision approved by the Board of Trustees in September, 2003; revision, December 2003).
When a landowner petitioned to create an agricultural preservation district, this is the agreement to restrict development on the property signed by the Foundation and the landowner and recorded in the county land records. As of July 1, 2007, district petitions are no longer required as a precondition for applying to sell an easement to the Foundation unless required by the county in which the property is located. As of July 1, 2008, district petitions are no longer accepted by MALPF. All MALPF districts were terminated as of June 30, 2012 except those that run concurrently with a MALPF easement and/or those that receive a property tax credit in Anne Arundel. Charles, and Frederick Counties. If a district is required by the county as part of the application process, the district will be established by the landowner at the county level.
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21401