A public hearing was held today at 10:08 a.m. in the County Commissioners’ Hearing Room, County Government Center, Chestertown, Maryland on Code Home Rule Bill No. 4-2008, which is an Act to amend Chapter 171 (“Agricultural Preservation Districts”) of the Code of Public Local Laws of Kent County to provide for the procedures for the establishment and termination of agricultural preservation districts by amending Sections 171-1 through 171-6 and by adding a new Section 171-7, and generally relating to chapter 171 of the Code of Public Local Laws of Kent County.
County Commissioners Roy Crow, Ronald Fithian, and William Pickrum, were in attendance as well as Susanne Hayman, County Administrator, Gail Owings, Director of Planning, Carla Martin, Community Planner, Wayne Morris, Director, Water and Wastewater Services, approximately 3 interested persons and two members of the media.
Commissioner Crow read the Notice of Public Hearing into the record.
Correspondence dated January 24 was received from Elizabeth Morris, Chairman, Planning Commission, informing that at its January 3 meeting, the Planning Commission reviewed draft language for amendments to the Agricultural Preservation Districts Ordinance. The Planning Commission supports the recommendation of the Agricultural Advisory Commission and Agricultural Land Preservation Advisory Board to continue requiring districts as a pre-requisite for participating in the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation’s Easement Acquisition Program. Therefore, the Planning Commission voted to make a favorable recommendation on the adoption of the proposed amendments to the Agricultural Preservation Districts Ordinance (Chapter 171).
Mrs. Gerber stated that in the past, this was a two step process. The property owner would create a preservation district and was then eligible to sell an easement. The district was set for five years. If the easement was not sold within the five years, the district could be terminated. The state is no longer requiring districts and if counties still want to require them, it has to be done at the local level. The Agricultural Advisory Commission and the Agricultural Preservation Board both feel that the districts should remain.
In response to question raised by Mr. Morris, Mrs. Gerber stated that nothing will be changed procedurally.
This hearing was taped for reference and adjourned at 10:15 a.m.
Third reading of this proposed legislation will be held on June 3, 2008, the next legislative day.
THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Janice F. Fletcher
Roy W. Crow, President