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Meetings to focus on land preservation program

September 22, 2005|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Agricultural property owners interested in protecting their farmland, forests and open space will have the opportunity to find out how at two community land preservation meetings.

The first meeting will be today at 7 p.m. at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center on Sharpsburg Pike.

The second meeting is Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. at Wacohu Grange Hall near Huyetts Crossroads on U.S. 40.

The meetings are being held by the Mid-Maryland Land Trust Association, Citizens for the Protection of Washington County (CPWC) and the Washington County Land Preservation Program.

"It's really about land preservation - how you can do it, what the advantages are," Hank Livelsberger of CPWC said Wednesday.

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A land preservation easement, for example, protects land from development but allows the owner to continue to farm the land and pay reduced property taxes, according to information provided by CPWC.

"An easement reduces property taxes, protects the rural character of the area, and helps build contiguous blocks of protected land," the information states. "The equity from an easement, plus the value of the farm, often equals or exceeds the sale of land for development."

The meetings are geared toward agricultural properties of at least 10 acres and will feature a variety of preservation programs.

A $250,000 grant that could be used for land preservation efforts in Washington County will also be discussed, Livelsberger said.

The Mid-Maryland Land Trust Association secured the grant, but the amount must be matched by the Washington County Commissioners in order for the money to be used for land preservation efforts in the county, Livelsberger said.

Peter Vorac of the Mid-Maryland Land Trust Association could not be reached for comment Wednesday.




If you go ...



What: Meeting on land preservation opportunities in Washington County.

When: Today, 7 p.m.

Where: Washington County Agricultural Education Center, 7303 Sharpsburg Pike (Md. 65), south of Hagerstown

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