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Montgomery County Council approves Urban Agricultural Tax Credit bill

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Urban Agricultural Tax Credit bill

is approved by Montgomery Council

Bill sponsored by Councilmember Tom Hucker will

allow owners of certain smaller properties in County

to get credit for maintaining at least 2 agricultural uses

 

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 7, 2017—The Montgomery County Council today approved Bill 31-16 that will allow owners of certain properties in the County ranging in size from one-half acre to less than three acres to be granted an “Urban Agricultural Tax Credit” if the property is used for urban agricultural purposes. Councilmember Tom Hucker was the lead sponsor of the bill that will provide a credit that will be equal to 80 percent of the property tax otherwise due on the property.

Bill 31-16 was introduced in August. The bill was enacted by an 8-0 vote. Councilmember Marc Elrich, a co-sponsor of the bill, was not present for the vote.

Eligible properties will have to be located in or within 1,000 feet of a Metro Station Policy Area.

 

Properties of three acres or more devoted to agricultural uses are already eligible for significantly lower agricultural use assessments. Two years ago, Baltimore City approved a tax credit similar to the one proposed in Bill 31-16.

 

Bill 31-16 defines an urban agricultural purpose as:

 

  • The cultivation of fruits, vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants.
  • The limited keeping and raising of fowl or bees.
  • The practice of aquaculture.

“Our urban farms are underappreciated gems that provide numerous public benefits,” said Councilmember Hucker. “They provide sustainable and healthy food options, create economic and educational opportunities and preserve green space. This bill provides new incentives—similar to those in Baltimore City and the District of Columbia—to ensure we retain these farms and support the growing urban agriculture movement in a time when there is sustained interest in growing food closer to home.” 

 

The term of the credit will be five years.

 

A property earning an Urban Agricultural Tax Credit must be solely used for urban agricultural uses, although an individual involved in crop production may reside on the property.

 

If at any time during the term of the credit or the renewal of the credit the property is no longer used for agricultural purposes, the credit granted to the property will be terminated. In addition, the owner of the property is liable for all property taxes that would have been due if the credit had not been granted for any year the property is not used for urban agricultural purposes.

 

 

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Release ID: 17-069
Media Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939