Part Of Our Sense of Place

By   August 13, 2014

Urban Sprawl: A Growing Threat

cornfieldMost DeKalb County residents appreciate the “town and country” quality of our environment that separates us from eastern suburbs: beautiful farmlands and a slower, friendlier pace. Yet most of us feel helpless to take a stand against the onset of urban sprawl.

The DeKalb County Farmland Foundation (DCCF), has an answer to this problem. DCFF is a non-profit organization committed to preserving endangered farmland through the purchase of conservation easements which prohibit development, construction, or any on-farm use of protected land. DCFF is actively seeking the donation or purchase of easements.

Conservation Easements: Funding a Solution

Easements can be donated by farmland owners dedicated to preserving their land, gaining them a measure of federal and state tax relief. Easements can also be purchased for a fair price. The value of the easement could be the difference in price between what the land would sell for as agricultural land and what it would sell for as land to be developed. The farmland owner will still own their land, but any current or future owner will be required to use that land only as farmland. The purchase of conservation easements can be very expensive.

A decision to donate or sell conservation easements on farmland should be discussed with family members and an attorney. People that value our quality of life can become a member or make a donation to DCFF, a 501 (c) 3 tax exempt charitable organization.

Together, with your support, we can preserve farmland and open space. In a recent survey performed in DeKalb, McHenry, and Kane counties, it was found that 75% of people responding to the poll were willing to pay more in taxes to save farmland and open space. Since state and local government do not currently have a means to act on citizens’ desires to preserve farmland, DCFF provides the opportunity to do so.