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Lexington officials considering lowering acreage requirement for land preservation

Left to right standing- Beth Overman-PDR Director and Gloria Martin-chair of the Rural Land Management Board
Stu Johnson
Left to right standing- Beth Overman-PDR Director and Gloria Martin-chair of the Rural Land Management Board

Supporters of the Purchase of Development Rights Program in Fayette County are seeking an adjustment in the acreage requirement. Currently, farms must be a minimum of 20 acres to come under PDR eligibility. Gloria Martin is chair of the Rural Land Management Board. She participated in a PDR update before a Council committee last week. Martin said there’s interest in lowering the minimum acreage requirement to ten acres.

“Because when you look on the map you will see that there are some ten-acre tracks or less than 20-acre tracks right in the middle of some of our big critical mass areas and they farm,” said Martin.

Lexington Planning and Preservation Commissioner Keith Horn told committee members an ordinance establishing a small farm preservation program will likely be before Council this fall. He said there’s no plan to ask for additional money in the local pool of PDR funding.

Mayor Linda Gorton is once again recommending a $2 million allocation for the program to purchase rich-soiled farmland that won’t be developed. Federal dollars are also used to match local funds.

Keith Horn reminded Council committee members last week when PDR began farms were ranked.

“A similar process for applicants for small farms, but depending on the number that you get…my hope is we’ll be able to take every small farm that is worth having and want to apply for the program.”

Horn said the plan would be to pay these small PDR farms to not develop through the existing annual allocation of $2 million, which supports all applicants. The effort to reach a 50,000 acre goal for PDR stands at about the two-thirds mark.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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