Friday, January 27, 2012

County’s First Easement Acquisition Under Building Lot Termination Program

I was pleased to join the County Executive and representatives of the County’s agriculture industry for the announcement of the Building Lot Termination (BLT) preservation easement acquisition of the 200-acre W. Drew Stabler/Sunny Ridge Farm, the Stabler family’s home farm in the Laytonsville/Damascus area. The BLT easement acquisition represents the first of three such anticipated easements to be settled under this fledgling program.

For the past several years, the Department of Economic Development has actively worked with County leadership to develop a BLT program that would be implemented through both public and private funding initiatives. This new program represents a major opportunity to expand on the County’s steadfast efforts to conserve farmland within the Agricultural Reserve.

The BLT program differs from other County agricultural easement programs in that all eligible properties must have an on-site waste disposal system site plan approved by the County. Whether the BLT easement is acquired through the public or private program, both require the extinguishment of the on-site waste disposal system in addition to the actual development right itself.

The County is working with the development community to promote an understanding of the benefits of this new program and is moving forward with the publicly funded program to demonstrate how effective the program can be in reducing the development threat for the most at-risk farms.

Details regarding the process for applying to the Building Lot Termination Program are available at

The County's diverse agricultural industry includes 577 farms and 350 horticultural enterprises producing more than $243 million in economic contribution from agricultural products and operations. The majority of Montgomery County farms are family-run operations, many reaching back several generations. These farms employ more than 10,000 residents, with half working full time in farming.

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