Montgomery County Council Enacts Legislation That Aims to Preserve Agricultural Land

by Patrick Herron
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For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 30, 2021

ROCKVILLE, Md.— Today, the County Council enacted legislation that updates the law governing land preservation for agricultural uses which should result in additional funding for the Montgomery County’s Agricultural Land Preservation Fund. Councilmember Andrew Friedson is the lead sponsor of Bill 5-21, and Councilmembers Craig Rice and Sidney Katz are cosponsors.

Bill 5-21 dedicates business personal property taxes received from a solar collection system built in the Agricultural Reserve Zone for the Agricultural Land Preservation Fund. This fund is an existing revolving fund used to purchase property, such as agricultural easements, to preserve agricultural land in the County. The goal of the legislation is to increase the land in the County preserved for agricultural uses.

“We have an opportunity to support solar while simultaneously preserving the purpose of the Agricultural Reserve – to protect farmland and agriculture,” said District 1 Montgomery County Councilmember Andrew Friedson. “Dedicating the revenue generated from new solar facilities to agricultural land preservation is a natural nexus and will be mutually beneficial to pursuing clean alternative energy sources and land conservation.”

“The passage of this bill demonstrates the county’s ongoing commitment to our agricultural community,” said Councilmember Craig Rice. “Preserving and supporting the farming sector will continue to be a critical priority that impacts food security, climate change, and our way of life.  We will remain focused on equitable and sustainable supports to the farming community.”

“I am very proud to co-sponsor Bill 5-21 which will provide funding to the Agricultural Land Preservation Fund,” said Councilmember Sidney Katz. “Our farmers and entire farming community are essential to Montgomery County and we must do what we can to support them.”

The new legislation does not change business personal property tax rates. Instead, it earmarks revenues generated from these taxes to the existing Agricultural Land Preservation Fund.

The staff report on this bill can be found here.

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