QAC Commisioners Introduce Rural Preservation and Development Act

At the October  28th meeting, the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners introduced County Ordinance 08-25, Queen Anne’s County Rural Preservation and Development Act.

The ordinance proposes to strengthen farm equity through activating the county’s dormant Transferof Development Rights (TDR) Program. Previously the TDR Program had not worked because therewere no areas to receive the development rights.

Ordinance 08-25 states any new subdivision proposed in an unincorporated growth or community planning area be required to utilize TDR’s after the date of introduction. Once enacted, this ordinance will create a demand for TDR’s and result in a boost in the equity landowners receive through increasing demand for development rights.

In addition, the measure seeks to limit development in rural unincorporated areas to minor subdivisions. Through these measures, the ordinance emphasizes “smart-growth” principles and affirms the fundamentals conveyed in the 2002 Comprehensive Plan; keeping rural lands rural directing growth to growth areas.

The ordinance also states, “it is the declared policy and intent of Queen Anne’s County to foster and encourage the municipalities within the county to require the use of transferable development rights in order to permit the residential development of lands annexed into any municipality in the county.”

Once accomplished, this would further strengthen the TDR market and the “smart-growth” strategy proposed.

“This ordinance is a big step in the right direction,” said County Commissioner Carol Fordonski. “It should direct residential development to the areas where it can be best accommodated while helping landowners preserve their properties and providing necessary financial benefits to farmers who want to remain on their land and keep farming, thereby sustaining our most important industry.”