County Executive Re-Opens ALPP
County Executive Calvin Ball re-opens the ALPP on June 5, 2019. The program is now accepting new applications!
ALPP Announcement Video | Photos
What is ALPP? Through this voluntary program, a farmer whose land meets certain size and soil criteria can offer to sell a perpetual easement to the County, while holding fee simple title to the land and continuing to farm. The farm may be sold, but the easement, which restricts the development of the property, remains with the land and binds future owners.
How do I apply? Please read through the informational links below for a more step by step process of the application procedures.
Overview | Application |Application Process Procedures | Soil and Water Quality Plan Status | Eligibility Criteria
Who should I contact if I have questions? Joy Levy, Program Administrator, 410-313-5407
What is the tax credit? A property tax credit shall be granted, upon application, to an owner of agricultural land to which an easement has been permanently conveyed or assigned to the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation or the Howard County Agricultural Land Preservation Program. The credit shall equal 75% of any County property tax imposed on the land included in such easement, not including any improvements.
The Agriculture Credit will be noted on your Real Property Tax Bill under "Charge Description".
When and how do I apply? An eligible owner of agricultural land shall apply for the tax credit with the Director of Finance within 30 days of the issuance of each annual property tax bill, which occurs in June. However, applications can be submitted as early as March. Owners must apply EVERY year to be granted this tax credit. Applications can be found here.
All applications should be mailed to:
Agricultural Land Preservation Program
Department of Planning and Zoning
3430 Court House Drive
Ellicott City, MD 21043
Joy Levy, Program Administrator, 410-313-5407
Dejuan Felder, Assistant Director of Finance, 410-313-1180
On October 1, 2018 the Howard County Council passed CB 63-2018, which significantly amended the law that governs the Agricultural Land Preservation Program (ALPP) to expand the duties of the Agricultural Preservation Board (APB), and to broaden the provisions of the law beyond the preservation of agricultural land to include the sustainability of agriculture as a viable sector of the County's economy.
The Howard County Agriculture Sustainability and Land Preservation Act (the Act) now provides that, in addition to acquiring agricultural land preservation easements, the County intends to support farming, agricultural endeavors and its investment in easements by offering technical assistance, promoting agribusiness innovation and developing future market opportunities.
The APB will now serve in an advisory capacity on agricultural issues to the County Executive, the County Council, the Department of Planning and Zoning and the Hearing Examiner. The APB can also provide outreach and education regarding the ALPP to the public, and serve as a sounding board for citizen concerns and complaints related to farming.
James Zoller, Agricultural Coordinator in the Office of Community Sustainability, is the Executive Secretary to the APB. As the County's liason to the agricultural community, Mr. Zoller is the primary contact for general farming related issues and concerns, which he will field to the appropriate county department and assist with a resolution.
Howard County Agricultural Land Preservation Program Easements (County Purchased & County Dedicated) are eligible to apply for a commercial solar facility (CSF) through the Conditional Use (CU) zoning process. Please read the following documents very carefully for important information regarding CSF eligibility and submission requirements:
Please contact the Division of Public Service and Zoning at 410-313-2350 for questions and instructions on how to submit a CU Petition for a CSF.
Since the opening of the current Howard County Agricultural Land Preservation Program (ALPP) acquisition cycle in 2013, the County has permanently protected 17 properties by purchasing their development rights, for a total of over 1093 acres. In addition, the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) purchased one 71-acre easement. As of March 2019, Howard County’s farmland preservation amounts to a grand total of 22,798 acres.
Agricultural Preservation Board
Howard County Economic Development Authority "Farms & Agriculture" Page
Click on the Interactive Map above to view different types of land preservation in Howard County!
Using these tools, the County has preserved almost 23,000 acres of farmland in the Rural West of Howard County over the last 35 years.
Through this voluntary program, a farmer whose land meets certain size and soil criteria can offer to sell a perpetual easement to the County, while holding fee simple title to the land and continuing to farm. The farm may be sold, but the easement, which restricts the development of the property, remains with the land and binds future owners.
When the ALPP announces an application period, any interested property owner whose farm meets the minimum eligibility criteria may apply. The ALPP utilizes an objective scoring system to determine the value of the farm as agricultural land. This score translates into a per acre price offer that the County is willing to pay for an easement on the property.
Overview | Application Form | Soil and Water Quality Plan Form | Application Processing Procedures | Eligibility Criteria and Pricing Formula
Green Infrastructure Network | Green Infrastructure Interactive Map | Howard County Data Download and Viewer | Howard County Interactive Map | Maryland Land Records | Maryland State Archives Plats Search | State Department of Assessments & Taxation | Soil Capability Classes I - IV List | Soils Interactive Map | Zoning Regulations of Howard County
The primary regulatory framework for the ALPP is Section 15.500 of the Howard County Code. In addition to the laws that govern the program, there are many policies that implement its goals.
Commercial Solar Facilities (DPZ Policy, ALPP Policy) | Forest Conservation | Lot Location | Nontidal Wetland Mitigation | Parcel Division |Permitted Uses | Road ROW Dedication | Tenant Houses | Soil Conservation and Water Quality Plans
In order for property owners to exercise the lot and dwelling rights they retain upon entering the ALPP purchased easement program, there are certain procedures that must be followed and forms to be filled out.
Owner/Child Lot Process | Unrestricted Lot Process | Letter of Intent | Letter of Understanding/Owner Lot | Letter of Understanding/Child Lot | Tenant House Application
As provided for in the Zoning Regulations, land may be dedicated to the ALPP as a result of:
1) The creation of cluster subdivision residue preservation parcels
2) The creation of Density Exchange Option (DEO) sending preservation parcels
The ALPP is the sole easement holder of the dedicated easements, though no county funds are used to acquire them. The creation of dedicated preservation parcels arise out of private market transactions between the farmer and a developer. Like the ALPP purchased easements, the restrictions against development remain with the land and bind all future owners.
Density/Cluster Exchange Option | Application Form | Soil Conservation Form
For detailed information about the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF), please visit the state website by clicking here.
Howard County Data Download and Viewer | Howard County Interactive Map | Maryland Land Records | Maryland State Archives Plats Search | State Department of Assessments & Taxation | Soil Capability Classes I - IV List | Soils Interactive Map | Zoning Regulations of Howard County
MALPF easements established prior to 2004 allow a property owner to petition to buy back their development rights from the State after 25 years. In order to terminate an easement, it must be demonstrated that profitable farming is no longer feasible on the property.
Both MALPF and the County's governing body must approve the owner's request. While MALPF's review is focused on economic feasibility, the County's review is focused on local land use priorities, including consistency with comprehensive planning goals and impacts to vicinal properties.
Over 22,000 acres in Howard County are protected by an agricultural easement, however; only 3,960 are MALPF easement properties and are therefore potentially eligible to terminate. The other 17,690 acres are county easements and are not eligible to terminate. The documents below provide additional details regarding termination of MALPF easements.
Termination Policy | MALPF Process Flowchart | MALP Termination FAQ's
James Zoller, Executive Secretary | 410-313-2056
The Agricultural Land Preservation Board (ALPB) makes recommendations to the County Executive on the acquisition of new agricultural land preservation easement properties, reviews proposals concerning land already subject to an easement and assists ALPP staff with policy creation and refinement. For information on the current Meeting Agenda, Board Members, Schedule of Meetings, Meeting Location and Directions, Meeting Minutes, and the Rules of Procedure, please visit the Agricultural Preservation Board page.
The ALPP works closely with other agencies within the County to provide support to the agricultural community. Follow the links below for more information on the Agricultural Marketing Program within the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA), the Howard Soil Conservation District (SCD), the Maryland Agricultural & Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO), the University of Maryland Extension, and many other organizations.
HCEDA Agricultural Marketing Program | Howard Soil Conservation District | MARBIDCO | University of Maryland Extension
Environmental Planning | Farmers Markets | Farm-to-Table Restaurants | Farm Service Agency | Find a Farm | Forest Conservation Monitoring | Historic Preservation |