On May 3, 2010, Baltimore County published the Master Plan Rural Areas Amendment to the 2010 County Master Plan. This amendment was created to comply with the County Charter’s requirement that the Master Plan be reviewed and revised at least every ten years. The Master Plan Amendment was also drafted to comply with the Maryland Agricultural Stewardship Act of 2006. This Act “provides for the establishment of priority preservation areas by charter counties.” The Rural Areas Amendment continues Baltimore County’s efforts, since 1974, to place agricultural lands in permanently protected easements. The Master Plan Amendment identifies four general policies to guide the County’s efforts to protect rural lands:
- Permanently preserve lands for agriculture and natural resources to achieve the goal of at least 80,000 acres.
- Recognize and promote sustainable agriculture as a vital economic, commercial, and industrial activity that requires permanent protection.
- Manage development to protect agricultural lands and prevent conflicts between agricultural operations and incompatible uses.
- Ensure the proper management of agricultural lands to protect water quality and natural resources.