Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-806

Title:

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

Vote Date:

3/18/2013

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/15/2013

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

The bill clarifies existing statutes, and gives municipalities the ability to purchase the same development rights as the State now has, including the owner's right to construct residences or farm structures on their agricultural land. It will also enable partnerships among the state, municipalities and land trusts to acquire development rights to agricultural lands in order to preserve such lands.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Steven Reviczky, Comissioner of the Department of Agriculture:

The Department of Agriculture supports the bill. It considers this a technical change “meant to bring the Municipal Purchase of Development Rights statute into conformity with the joint ownership statutes of the Department of Agriculture.” The specific change, replacing subsection (e) of CGS Section 7-131q, will allow municipalities to acquire or accept as gift the right of the owner to construct any residences or farm structures on agricultural land. The Farmland Preservation Act of 1978 (CGS Section 22-26cc) allows the state such rights; the new subsection (e) will allow municipalities the same right, and provides for a joint municipal and state purchase of development rights.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Henry N. Talmage, Executive Director, CT Farm Bureau Association:

The CT Farm Bureau Association supports the bill, and states that it will “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.”

Kip Kolesinskas, on behalf of the Working Lands Alliance:

Working Lands Alliance testified that the bill clarifies existing law with regard to municipal purchase of development rights of agricultural land, and will ensure that municipalities can purchase the same bundle of rights that the State can now purchase, including the right to build a house, stating “..some landowners selling their development rights do not wish to retain the right to build a house on their land in the future, and this language would ensure that a municipality could purchase or accept as a gift that right.”

Amy Blaymore Paterson, Esq., Executive Director, CT Land Conservation Council:

The CT Land Conservation Council states that this bill “clarifies existing municipal purchase of development rights (PDR) statute so that towns are provided with the ability to purchase the same development rights as is the state, including the owner's right to construct residences or farm structures on their agricultural land.”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None

Reported by: Linda Buchanan

Date: 3/21/13