VBC Farmland and Open Space Preservation
Van Buren County is committed to the preservation of farmland and other natural features. The County Farmland and Open Space Preservation Ordinance establishes a countywide purchase of development rights program that will allow applicants to receive a cash payout for the development rights to their property. The first three townships to update their master plans to include farmland preservation were Paw Paw, Antwerp, and Pine Grove. Residents in these townships are eligible to apply to apply for Purchase of Development Rights grants whenever available from the State of Michigan. Residents in these townships are eligible to apply for the annual grant.
The County Farmland Preservation Board (LPB) plays an integral role in this effort. Land Preservation Board meetings are now being held on a quarterly basis on the 2nd Floor of the Administration and Land Services Building, 219 Paw Paw Street, Paw Paw. Scheduled meeting dates are as follows:
January 19, 6:30 pm
April 20, 6:30 pm
July 20, 6:30 pm
October 19, 6:30 pm
Income Tax Incentives for Land Conservation
Charles E. Lachman Conservation Easement
On September 27th 2007, Van Buren County successfully purchased their first set of development rights from Charles Lachman of Paw Paw Township. Lachman owns an 81 acre parcel of land 1/2 mile south of Interstate 94 on M-51 Highway. He received a cash payout for selling his development rights to the county through an annual state funded grant program. The farmland will be permanently protected by a conservation easement that will prohibit development.
On May 3, 2008 the Land Preservation Board and Charles Lachman hosted a celebration at the Lachman farm to commemorate the first successful purchase of development rights on a Van Buren County Farm! Representative Tonya Schuitmaker, Pete TerLouw (Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy), Elizabeth Juras and Rich Harlow (Michigan Department of Agriculture) and Land Preservation Board Chair, Dave Foerster were also present to speak about the importance of this first preserved farm, the steps taken to get to this point, as well as where farmland preservation is headed in Van Buren County and the State of Michigan. Check out the article (left, click to enlarge
) about the event published in the May 9, 2008 Farmer's Exchange.