On May 11, 2004, Maryland Governor Ehrlich signed two new laws implementing recommendations of the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation (MALPF) Task Force.
HB 770 gives MALPF the flexibility to grant a tenant house on farms smaller than 100 acres when it sees a compelling need. The land and the tenant house(s) cannot be subdivided or conveyed from the protected parcel. Prior law included a complete ban on construction in excess of 1 tenant house per 100 acres.
HB 777 removes the termination provision from MALPF easements starting on October 1, 2004. Older MALPF easements allow landowners to petition to terminate the easement after 25 years if the landowner can prove that “profitable farming is no longer feasible” on that property. In addition, the new law establishes an appeals process for landowners who ask to have their easements terminated after 25 years under the older termination clause, ensuring that MALPF’s decision regarding termination can only be overturned on administrative procedural issues.