General Application Process

1. Applications for easement consideration will be accepted on a continuous basis throughout the year. Complete applications will be reviewed for completeness and if deemed complete will be evaluated within a 120 day period. Following eligibility qualification, the application is then ranked and the score posted in the Ag Land Preserve Board Program Office. Note: Incomplete applications will be returned to the landowner with a letter of explanation with a checklist attached.

2. Each application will receive a farm visit by a representative of the county board to determine qualification for eligibility to the easement program.

3. Eligible applications are ranked using the Farmland Ranking System. Scores will be posted regularly in the Ag Land Preserve Board Program Office.

4. Farms will be selected for appraisal for easement purchase based upon score and availability of easement funds throughout the year.

5. High scoring farms are selected for appraisal to determine their agricultural conservation easement value. Please note: a current cap of $4,500 per acre applies to all offers.

6. Landowners are contacted to review the appraisal report and the County Board's offer. The landowner has 30 days to consider the Board's offer and respond. The landowner may obtain an independent appraisal at their expense. State regulation permits the County to make a second offer based upon the Board's original offer and the landowner's appraisal. The Board may also re-offer the original easement purchase price as well.

7. Upon agreement of the easement offer, a sales agreement is signed by the landowner, County Board, and County Solicitor.

8. Following signature of the sales agreement, a title search is completed, lenders approval received, a legal description determined, surveys conducted if necessary, and a final summary report of the easement application is prepared.

9. Following the approval of the final summary report of the easement application, by the County Board and State Ag Land Preserve Board, the easement purchase funds are authorized and available for the easement purchase.

10. During the easement settlement, the landowner will sign a Deed of Agricultural Conservation Easement and will then receive the easement funds. The settlement agent for the County Board will record, in the York County Courthouse, the signed deed of agricultural easement, placing the easement restrictions on the farm deed.

11. A representative of the County Board will conduct an inspection every two years on the preserved lands.  Staff will coordinate with landowners when scheduling inspections.

For additional information, please call (717) 840-7400, or write, York County Agricultural Land Preservation Board Program Office, 118 Pleasant Acres Road Suite F, York, PA 17402.