Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-6316

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE STATE PURCHASE OF DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS FOR AGRICULTURAL LAND PRESERVATION.

Vote Date:

3/4/2013

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/15/2013

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

This bill allows the state and a municipality to share ownership of the development rights to agricultural land when the municipality has paid part of the purchase rights without requiring that all of the land be within the borders of the municipality.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE

New language combines this bill with raised bill HB 6314, An Act Concerning Certain Revisions to the Community Farms Program. In the Substitute Language, this is Section 2 and is lines 15-171.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Steven K. Reviczky, Commissioner, Department of Agriculture

The Department of Agriculture supports the bill as there are many instances when the state purchases easements on agricultural lands that are situated in two or more towns. The Department believes that the decision to purchase joint easements should lie with the city or town and that municipalities should not be constrained from jointly holding such an easement with the state merely because a portion of the land is in an abutting town.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Gordon Gibson, Legislative Liaison, Connecticut State Grange

The Connecticut State Grange supports the bill as it will eliminate the problems that occur when only one municipality participates in the preservation of a parcel of land located in two municipalities. However, Mr. Gibson wishes to call attention to a potential conflict between this bill and Raised Bill 6314. Mr. Gibson states that the additions to Section 22-26nn of the General Statues proposed in Raised Bill 6314 are taken verbatim from Section 22-26cc of the General Statues. Specifically, the proposed new Subsection (f), located at the bottom of page 2, is taken from Subsection (e) of Section 22-26cc but does not include the changes proposed to this subsection in Raised Bill 6314 concerning a municipality jointly owning an easement outside of its boundaries. The Grange recommends that the Environment Committee revise Raised Bill 6316 to make it consistent with the changes proposed in the new subsection (f) in Raised Bill 6314.

Kip Kolesinskas, Working Lands Alliance

The Working Lands Alliance (WLA) supports the bill as it is a small but important clarification needed to ease program administration in those situations where land crosses town boundaries. WLA believes that without such authority, negotiating and finalizing an easement on land that crosses town lines may require multiple easements and ongoing stewardship complications for the State, for the town, and, most importantly, for the landowner.

Amy Blaymore Paterson, Esq., Executive Director, Connecticut Land Conservation Council

The Connecticut Land Conservation Council supports the bill as this technical change will help to promote further efficiency in the administration of the program by removing an unnecessary complication for all parties involved in the transaction.

Henry N. Talmage, Executive Director, Connecticut Farm Bureau Association

The Connecticut Farm Bureau Association supports bill as it would allow municipalities and landowners to configure projects that do not contain provisions for residents and compensate owners for the value of the building right if both parties agree.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None

Reported by: Stephen Yenke

Date: 3/14/13