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Francis Scott Key Bridge Incident Updates

Land Preservation

Public Hearing

The Department of Planning and Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability in conjunction with the Baltimore County Agricultural Land Preservation Advisory Board will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, June 12 regarding updates to the Agricultural Easement Formula.

Baltimore County is a national leader in land preservation. It has consistently ranked in the top 10 counties for land preserved. Building on the first easement of 34 acres in 1975, the County now has over 70,000 acres of protected farmland, waterfront, stream valleys and natural lands. This successful effort is built upon the County’s growth management program, support for the farm industry and collaboration with the land preservation community.

Agriculture Center Office Hours

Every month at the Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park, 1114 Shawan Road, Cockeysville, Maryland 21030, the Planning Department will hold office hours.

  • First Monday of the month—7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Third Tuesday of the month—9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


The County uses innovative and collaborative funding mechanisms for land preservation in Baltimore County’s Agricultural Preservation Protection Areas. With advanced planning and zoning practices, identification of growth centers, innovative environmental programs, and proactive land and resource protection efforts, the County has established a nationally recognized land preservation strategy. There are many benefits from this comprehensive approach, including: 

  • More compact and cost effective development
  • Land resources preserved to support a viable agricultural community
  • Retention of forest and habitat for wildlife
  • Preservation of our agricultural heritage
  • Protection of water quality for our local streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay

Baltimore County, working with a number of interests groups and State agencies, has created a variety of options to promote preservation of our land and natural resources.

About Conservation Easement Programs

A conservation easement is a voluntary, written deed agreement to protect conservation features of property; for example, farmland, natural resources and scenic views. Easements prohibit more intensive land uses such as commercial, industrial and high-density residential development. Learn more about:

Easement Locator

Use the easement locator tool to see the progress the County has made preserving agricultural and forested land. The application combines the data layers and functionality of the previous My Neighborhood and Find Tile ArcIMS applications into a single, easy-to-use interactive mapping tool.

Landowner Rights

Landowners retain all rights of ownership, privacy and uses within the terms of the easement. An easement runs with the property, in perpetuity, and carries certain responsibilities, such as maintaining a current soil and water conservation or forestry plan and otherwise upholding the terms of the Deed of Conservation Easement.

  • Buying and Selling—A property under an easement can be bought and sold; the easement is recorded in the Land Records of the County government and future property owners remain legally bound by it. Prospective buyers of properties under conservation are advised to carefully read the Deed of Conservation Easement and contact the organization (referred to in the Deed as the Grantee) responsible for maintaining the easement.
  • Access—An easement will not grant public access to a landowner's property; however, some programs give financial incentives to provide access to the water or existing trails. 
  • Changes to Property—If a landowner wishes to make a change to a property already under easement—such as building a new structure—the first step is to read the Deed of Conservation Easement. Then, contact the agency that holds the easement to discuss your plans.


  • Protection of Land—Landowners who want to protect the rural or scenic character, family or historical heritage, or natural resource and wildlife value of their land may donate or sell conservation easements as a way to protect those values in perpetuity. Easements may also be a part of the estate planning process, thus making it easier to pass land to the owners' heirs.
  • Financial Benefits—Depending on the program, landowners will either be paid for the sale of the easement or may be eligible for tax benefits associated with an easement donation. Tax benefits vary based on specific federal and state requirements, the value of the easement, its purpose, income and estate tax circumstances, and other factors. Consult your tax advisor for additional information.

Available Programs

Each program has different criteria that must be met to be selected to participate. Some programs have acreage requirements. Private land trusts often accept smaller properties, especially those contiguous to other easements or valued natural and agricultural tracts.

Landowners can choose from a variety of easement programs that depend on factors such as land use, location and whether it is a donation or easement sale. If you are considering applying for the program we recommend that you contact your financial and legal advisors to determine the tax implications of an easement sale or donation. Program information, eligibility and application forms are provided below.

How to Apply for Easement Programs

Interested landowners are encouraged to submit applications to Baltimore County Land Preservation or other easement organizations. Once the applications have been received, the County or Land Trust will review the application to see if it meets the program criteria. If it does not, landowners will be advised of other programs that may be applicable. It is recommended that you contact staff to discuss your application before you file. 

Compliance Under Easement

There are certain rules and restrictions that are enforced once a property is put under easement. These rules can be reviewed in the Deed of Easement, which apply to the property even if the current owner did not place the property in the easement program. The organization holding the easement (Grantee) is required to inspect the easement periodically for compliance. The inspection forms are available below.

Related Forms

Listed below are commonly requested forms related to land preservation programs and easement inspections.

Explore Land Preservation


Contact Us

Land Preservation

Jefferson Building, Suite 101
105 West Chesapeake Avenue
Towson, Maryland 21204


Land Preservation Administrator

Megan Benjamin


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