Priority Preservation Area Functional Master Plan
The Priority Preservation Area (PPA) Functional Master Plan was developed for Prince George's County in accordance with House Bill 2 (HB2), the Agricultural Stewardship Act of 2006 (PDF). It requires that a county seeking state certification of its agricultural land preservation program identify PPAs, and update its comprehensive plan with a PPA element. Prince George's County is seeking certification; thus, it must designate a PPA that:
- Contains productive agricultural or forest soils or is capable of supporting profitable agricultural and forestry enterprises where productive soils are lacking
- Is governed by local policies that stabilize the agricultural and forest land base so that development does not convert or compromise agricultural or forest resources
- Is large enough to support the kind of agricultural operations that the County seeks to preserve, as represented in the comprehensive plan
According to HB2, the PPA element shall:
- Establish appropriate goals for the amount and types of agricultural resource land to be preserved in a PPA, including a county acreage goal for preservation through easements and zoning, to be equal to or at least 80% of the remaining undeveloped land in the area.
- Include maps indicating the boundaries of the PPA.
- Describe the kinds of agricultural production the county intends to support and the amount of development the county intends to allow.
- Describe the PPA within the context of the county's growth management plans.
- Identify shortcomings of current or future improvement plans for the county's zoning and land management practices.
- Describe how the county's preservation goals will be accomplished in the PPA, including:
- A strategy to protect land from development through zoning.
- A desired amount of land to preserve with permanent easements.
- A strategy to maintain a rural environment capable of supporting the kind of production intended.
- Include an evaluation of the ability of the county's zoning and other land use management practices to do the following:
- Limit the impact of subdivision and development.
- Allow time for easement purchase.
- Achieve the goals of the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) program before land succumbs to development.
- Describe the methods the county will use to effectively achieve preservation goals within the designated PPA to achieve the acreage preservation goals of MALPF and the county.
House Bill 1141
Also in 2006, House Bill 1141 was enacted, which requires a planning commission of a county or municipal corporation to consider comprehensively the effects of any planned or proposed land use on forest and agricultural conservation lands, as well as on stream and wetlands. It requires that these natural resource lands intended for protection or conservation be designated in a sensitive area's element of the county comprehensive plan. The goal is to prevent any negative impacts to the natural resources of a county or municipality.
This functional master plan established a countywide PPA. Portions of the PPA were designated through the Subregion 1, Subregion 5, and Subregion 6 Master Planning Process. The plan contains goals, policies, and strategies that will guide agricultural preservation efforts in the county. The plan amends the 2002 Prince George's county Approved General Plan and will meet the requirements of the House Bill 2, the Agricultural Stewardship Act of 2006, and House Bill 1141-Land Use-Local Government Planning.