Sign our petition asking the County Council to repeal the Agricultural Rights Transfer Ordinance (ARTO), which permits the transfer of residential development rights from one agriculturally zoned property to only another agriculturally zoned property. The ARTO was approved by the outgoing Board of County Commissioners on November 18, 2014 and has been in effect since December 1, 2014.
The ARTO is completely contrary to Frederick’s comprehensive plan, which seeks to direct housing developments to areas planned for growth – not farmland – so there is a future for local agriculture.
Transferring residential development within agricultural areas has the potential to create conflicts with active agricultural operations on adjoining properties. Even in a right-to-farm county, such conflicts pose a threat to continued agricultural operations. At a time when local food is very much in demand and food security is an increasing concern, the ARTO is tremendously short-sighted.
Likewise, the ARTO will ultimately result in a net loss of agricultural land because it was not crafted to require that only buildable lots be transferred. Development rights that would have never been realized because of various constraints or failed percolation tests can now be transferred to properties without such constraints. The ARTO is at odds with the goal of maintaining a critical mass of contiguous farmland in the county to ensure the viability of the local agricultural economy.
It’s time for the County Council to move forward with repeal of the ARTO.