[Baltimore Sun] Carroll commissioners approve $910,000 for preservation of two Westminster properties

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Carroll County commissioners unanimously agreed to purchase conservation easements for two properties on Stone Road in Westminster, as part of the county’s agriculture land preservation program. The combined cost to the county for the properties is $910,397.90.

The approval brings the total number of acres preserved in the county to 79,880. The program began in 1980, and the county has set 100,000 acres as its goal for agricultural preservation.

The county’s program works by paying landowners to permanently retire the development potential of their land. The easement that the county purchases restricts all future development of the property and remains with the land, binding future owners from development as well. The farm owner holds the title to the land and can continue to use it as a farm.

The conservation easement also requires conservation practices that “assure proper care of the land so it remains usable and productive for future generations,” according to the county’s agricultural land preservation website.

Both properties approved for easements on Thursday are owned by the same people, Frances L. Swift and Susan C. Lynch, and both are located on Stone Road in Westminster. The landowners were granted preliminary approval to participate in the County Agricultural Land Preservation Program on June 14, 2023, by the county’s Agricultural Land Preservation Advisory Board. Commissioners also gave preliminary approval on July 13, 2023.

The first property, at 1200 Stone Road, is 57.479 acres, with a fair market value for the land of $410,250.94. The easement cost the county $287,175.66, or 70% of the fair market value. The farm is among several other preserved properties.

The second property, at 1414 Stone Road, is southwest of the other property and comprises 124.74 acres. The fair market value of the land for this property is $890,317.48, and the cost to the county for the easement is $623,222.24.

Commissioners commented on the beauty of both properties before unanimously approving the purchases. They also congratulated the property owners, who attended the meeting.

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