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New rules would ease pressure on western Howard farms

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New rules would ease pressure on western Howard farms

As transplanted suburbanites increasingly began moving into homes next to long-established farmers in western Howard County, a clash of cultures accelerated there in the past decade. New residential neighbors brought setback requirements between farms and houses, forcing some farmers to limit future use of their land.

In an attempt to offer regulatory relief to farmers, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman is now seeking to remove setback requirements that buffer new residences and farmland. The Howard County Council could vote on a bill backed by Kittleman in early April if it is pre-filed in late February, as planned.

Current requirements require 200-foot setbacks between animal shelters and residences, and buffers of between 100 and 200 feet for riding academies and stables. The proposed change would apply to future residences in the Rural Conservation district, which aims to preserve farmland, as well as farms 20 acres or larger in the Rural Residential district, which allows residential development in rural settings.

The change would not apply to lots already recorded and current residences that are not on farms.