County Executive Gardner says it will expand the impact fee waivers granted for ‘child lots.’
Frederick, Md (KM) Changers are being proposed to the ordinance which grants a waiver to impact fees for farmers who set aside lots for their children so they can continue in agriculture. During her public information briefing on Tuesday, County Executive Jan Gardner unveiled a bill to extend these waivers to other family members.
Under the current law which took affect in 2014, children of farmers who wanted to remain on the farm to work the family’s property could apply for waivers to the county’s impact fees, which are imposed on new housing to pay for schools and libraries. But Gardner says her bill would extend those waiver applications to siblings and parents of farmers.
“So we want farming to remain a viable industry in Frederick County, and part of that includes supporting multi-generational farms which are really important to our county,” says Gardner.
Other parts of the bill include:
*defining a qualifying farmer as a full-time farmer who earns a majority of his or her gross income from agriculture over the past three years
*requires the lot being subdivided from the farm to be no more than two-acres.
*clarifies that farms owned by a trust or limited liability corporation may be eligible.
*and requires the person receiving the waiver to show they provide substantial help and support to the farm operation. They must work an average of at least 20-hours a week providing either physical labor or administrative support to the farming operation throughout the calendar year.
“These changes should help our farmers by providing transparency up front, and by allowing additional farm members to apply for the impact fee waiver,” says Gardner.
The legislation is expected to be formally introduced to the County Council at a future date.
By Kevin McManus