County Commissioners - Public Hearings

PUBLIC HEARING - April 20, 2010

 

AGRICULTURAL PRIORITY PRESERVATION AREA- Public He



A public hearing was held today at 9:30 a.m. in the County Commissioners’ Hearing Room, County Government Center, Chestertown, Maryland, for receiving comments on the proposed Amendment for adoption of the Priority Preservation areas as an appendix to the Kent County Comprehensive Plan as submitted by the Kent County Planning Commission.

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 Gerber, Community Planner, approximately six interested persons and three members of the media.

Commissioner Crow read the Notice of Public Hearing into the record.

Mrs. Gerber stated that House Bill 2 “Agricultural Stewardship Act of 2006” set up a requirement that counties with certified agricultural preservation programs adopt an amendment to their Comprehensive Plan calling it a priority preservation area. The Planning Office has decided to do this as an amendment since some of the other counties were already in their Comprehensive Plan update process. In addition to the Planning Commission, the Agricultural Land Preservation Advisory Board and the Agricultural Advisory Commission were the first to review the amendment and they are all in support of the design of a priority preservation area that encompasses almost all of the agricultural preservation area being the Agricultural Zoning District and the Resource Conservation District, consisting of 151,350 acres out of 180,000 acres. The law specifies that 80% of the undeveloped portion of the designated area remain undeveloped. For the purpose of the Priority Preservation Area, developed land is any parcel under 20 acres and 80% of the undeveloped portion of the PPA is 114,340 acres. As described by the Agricultural Stewardship Act of 2006, the purpose of the Priority Preservation Areas is as follows:

- Establish appropriate goals for the amount and types of agricultural resource land to preserved by the County;
- Describe the kinds of agricultural production the County intends to support and the amount of development the County intends to follow:
- Describe the methods the County will use to concentrate preservation funds and other supporting efforts in the PPA to achieve the goals MALPF and the County’s preservation acreage goal; and
- Identify shortcomings in the ability of the County’s zoning and land management practices and identify current or future actions to correct the shortcomings.



Mrs. Gerber informed that these four points were used to lay out the draft amendment. The Maryland Department of Planning and the MALPF did not have any comments regarding the proposed area and were happy about the proposed size of the area. She noted that most counties are doing much smaller priority preservation areas. The Planning Office is taking the appropriate goals and strategies that are already within the Comprehensive Plan and adapting them for the priority preservation area. Changes in zoning are not being suggested. Mrs. Gerber informed that the law requires that a mechanism be in place to preserve 80% of the undeveloped portion of the priority preservation area. Mrs. Gerber commented that the most significant shortcoming is a lack of funding to purchase easements.

Commissioner Crow commented that commercially zoned property located on the east side of US 301 that has been included in the priority preservation area will never be developed and is under water right now. He inquired if this property could be somehow traded with a developable piece of land in the future. Ms. Owings stated that this property includes an area that creates a natural buffer along US Route 301. She noted that this is also the only area in Kent County with an intersection of a major road and a railroad.

John Vail expressed his objection to the exclusion of 600 prime acres of farmland located on the north side of MD Route 290 between Gregg Neck and Wilson Point Roads. He expressed concerns relating to the zoning of the property.

This hearing was taped for reference and adjourned at 9:50 a.m.



Janice F. Fletcher
Executive Assistant

Approved:
Roy W. Crow, President





April 20, 2010

A public hearing was held today at 9:30 a.m. in the County Commissioners’ Hearing Room, County Government Center, Chestertown, Maryland, for receiving comments on the proposed Amendment for adoption of the Priority Preservation areas as an appendix to the Kent County Comprehensive Plan as submitted by the Kent County Planning Commission.

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 Gerber, Community Planner, approximately six interested persons and three members of the media.

Commissioner Crow read the Notice of Public Hearing into the record.

Mrs. Gerber stated that House Bill 2 “Agricultural Stewardship Act of 2006” set up a requirement that counties with certified agricultural preservation programs adopt an amendment to their Comprehensive Plan calling it a priority preservation area. The Planning Office has decided to do this as an amendment since some of the other counties were already in their Comprehensive Plan update process. In addition to the Planning Commission, the Agricultural Land Preservation Advisory Board and the Agricultural Advisory Commission were the first to review the amendment and they are all in support of the design of a priority preservation area that encompasses almost all of the agricultural preservation area being the Agricultural Zoning District and the Resource Conservation District, consisting of 151,350 acres out of 180,000 acres. The law specifies that 80% of the undeveloped portion of the designated area remain undeveloped. For the purpose of the Priority Preservation Area, developed land is any parcel under 20 acres and 80% of the undeveloped portion of the PPA is 114,340 acres. As described by the Agricultural Stewardship Act of 2006, the purpose of the Priority Preservation Areas is as follows:

- Establish appropriate goals for the amount and types of agricultural resource land to preserved by the County;
- Describe the kinds of agricultural production the County intends to support and the amount of development the County intends to follow:
- Describe the methods the County will use to concentrate preservation funds and other supporting efforts in the PPA to achieve the goals MALPF and the County’s preservation acreage goal; and
- Identify shortcomings in the ability of the County’s zoning and land management practices and identify current or future actions to correct the shortcomings.



Mrs. Gerber informed that these four points were used to lay out the draft amendment. The Maryland Department of Planning and the MALPF did not have any comments regarding the proposed area and were happy about the proposed size of the area. She noted that most counties are doing much smaller priority preservation areas. The Planning Office is taking the appropriate goals and strategies that are already within the Comprehensive Plan and adapting them for the priority preservation area. Changes in zoning are not being suggested. Mrs. Gerber informed that the law requires that a mechanism be in place to preserve 80% of the undeveloped portion of the priority preservation area. Mrs. Gerber commented that the most significant shortcoming is a lack of funding to purchase easements.

Commissioner Crow commented that commercially zoned property located on the east side of US 301 that has been included in the priority preservation area will never be developed and is under water right now. He inquired if this property could be somehow traded with a developable piece of land in the future. Ms. Owings stated that this property includes an area that creates a natural buffer along US Route 301. She noted that this is also the only area in Kent County with an intersection of a major road and a railroad.

John Vail expressed his objection to the exclusion of 600 prime acres of farmland located on the north side of MD Route 290 between Gregg Neck and Wilson Point Roads. He expressed concerns relating to the zoning of the property.

This hearing was taped for reference and adjourned at 9:50 a.m.



Janice F. Fletcher
Executive Assistant

Approved:
Roy W. Crow, President

Please contact the County Commissioner's Office at (410) 778-4600 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.