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In this section, in addition to the Town of Parma Code, you can find current and archival Town, Planning, Zoning and Conservation Boards minutes starting with 2006 through the present; Town Board Agendas; Legal and Public Notices published through the Town Clerk Office , Budget information; Bid Package Information and Internal Town Policies.

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Home | Land Preservation | Protection Plan | News | Links | FAQs | Survey Results | Contact Us

Preserving Farmland and Open Space in Parma

Parma has been a rural farming town for most of its 200 year existence. Today, as then - farming is a good business and farmers make good neighbors. A priority of Parma citizens and the Parma town government has been to preserve farmland and this American livelihood.

As a farmer or landowner, YOU have the control to do what you feel is in the best interest of your lands and for your family. There are a bundle of rights associated with your property, including the right to farm, log, mine, sell, transfer and develop your land. But did you know that under New York law, you can also exercise the right to conserve your land’s agricultural, natural, and scenic features?

If you are a farmer or landowner who wishes to protect your land’s agricultural, natural and scenic features for future generations, you can use various approaches to restrict the type, amount and location of development.

Approaches include:

These techniques are all private, voluntary, and permanent in effect. Each will result in the placement of an agricultural conservation easement on the property. The various approaches are designed to offer you optimum control, by allowing you to determine how the land will be conserved and developed. All these options are tools in assisting you to preserve your lands for future generations.

Selling Development Rights (with a conservation easement)

Also known as Purchase of Development Rights or PDR

A PDR program seeks to protect farmland by removing the development right from the land for any use other than agriculture and to compensate a farmer for voluntarily selling this right to the public. In essence, an agricultural easement is placed upon the property.

The easement must remain flexible in order for the farm to remain productive. Barns, silos, outbuildings, and homes are necessary to run an agricultural business and may not be restricted depending on the specifics of the easement. It is important to allow the farmer to be able to adapt as farming practices change. The easement does not have to apply to the whole property. Portions of the property can remain unrestricted.

The purchase price paid to the landowner for these development rights is based on the difference between the full market value for the commercial development of a piece of property and its agricultural value.

In return for selling the development rights on a piece of property, the farmer provides an easement to the buyer (possibly a Land Trust) guaranteeing that only agricultural practices or buildings will be allowed on that property, meaning that it can never be developed. If the farmer decides to sell the property, all of the easement restrictions are transferred to the new owner. This means that all future owners will need to maintain the property as agricultural or open space.

A financial example of this program would work in the following manner –

Bob’s family farms 100 acres. The Full Market Value for his 100 acres is assessed at $6,000 per acre. The Agriculture Value is $2,000 per acre. The Development Right Value would be $4,000 per acre. (The difference between Full and Agricultural value)

Upon extinguishing the development rights, Bob continues to own and farm the land and may sell the land in the future. He may will the land to next of kin, sell or donate it as he sees fit. The agricultural easement placed upon the land is for perpetuity and may only be used for agriculture, open space or to the agreement of the easement.

Where does funding for purchase development rights come from?

  • New York State promotes a PDR program where the State will provide 75% of the development right funding.
  • Federal funding currently (2009) provides a PDR program where the U.S. Government will provide 50% of development right funding.
  • Land Trusts such as Genesee Valley Land Trust may work with County or Town governments in providing funding.
  • County or Town Funding directly. In 2009, The County of Monroe and the Town of Parma worked to secure funding to purchase the development rights to the Martin farm, a 114 acre farm.
  • Other sources may include local bonds, estate planning, donation or bargain sale.

Bargain Sale

A bargain sale is another tool farmers and landowner can use to preserve their lands for future farming. Generally, the current landowner sells or donates the property to another farmer or Land Trust. A bargain sale usually takes place to complete the difference between Full and Agricultural value during a PDR process or for tax purposes.

Trade Development Rights

Trading development rights is a way for land owners to preserve a parcel of land while at the same time fully develop another parcel of land. Any costs are usually burdened by the land owner. The benefit is the landowner gets to develop land that may not be allowed to be develop (or at a different zoning code) and the community is assured of future farmland.

Example: Pete’s family farms 2 parcels of land. One parcel is 15 acres and zoned for 1 house per 3 acres (5 total houses). Pete also has a 100 acre parcel of current farmland the family resides at. In this scenario, Pete places an agricultural easement on his 100 acre farm. In exchange, Bob would be allowed to have the zoning changed on his 15 acres to 1 house per 1 acre. (15 houses)

Donation

A farmer or landowner could outright donate their land(s) to a Land Trust such as Genesee Valley Land Trust. In exchange for the donation, a farmer would place, or allow the land Trust to place an agricultural easement on the property. The landowner gain tax benefits and the land could still be farmed for future generations.

Term Easements

This is a short to medium term program where a landowner requests the Town of Parma for relief of the land’s assessed value. For the relief of assessed value, the landowner places an agricultural/Conservation easement upon the land for a specific period of time. The term of these easements would be no shorter than 5 years, but have no maximum term.

"Without local farmland, there is no local food." (AFT)

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Hilton, NY 14468
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