Ag preservation: All citizens may not be aware that millions of dollars of taxpayer monies have been used over the past few years to buy preservation easments from our farmers (farm by farm)) to ensure they do not subdivide and develop their farms.
I want to make my position very clear on the issue of Ag Preservation:
1. First, no one in government has the right to downsize our farmers' property rights. It is unconstitutional. The County may call it "rezoning". I call it STEALING.
2. I support Ag Preservation. However, I believe there are cost-effective alternatives that can be ADDED to our existing program that may enable us to preserve more farms for a lower cost:
First, we should ensure a proper geographical mix of farms to include preservation of farms close to population centers so that we can retain the rural "flavor" of our communities. Of course, many farmers need Ag Preservation in order to support marginal farming operations, so areas outside of the pathway of development must also be considered (and will be less expensive).
Second, The County can honor our legacy farmers by offering tax credits and by allowing farmers to transfer a small portion of their development rights to alternative parcels in exchange for their agreement to preserve their farms. Everybody wins.
Third, this will cost millions less than the current program; respects private property rights; and will preserve the rural beauty of our county.