Home Forums Exemptions FFOS

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  • Christine Brochu
    Participant
    Post count: 12

    The Town leases 17 acres for the community farm from a private owner. The owner is enrolled in the farming program of farm forest and open space. The town has been offered to purchase the land but can only afford 15 acres now. The owner has agreed to lease the other two acres for 5 years then sell the lots to the town. Can the two remainder lots (one acre each) still be in enrolled in the farm program if the lease is specific to farming purposes only from the original owner to the Town? I thought I remembered leases being recognized for farming purposes and qualifying the lots to be in the Farm Forest and Open Space program when I used to work in Hopkinton.

    Chris Celeste
    Keymaster
    Post count: 32

    So there’s two lots one acre each left? The rest is one 15 acre parcel?
    Either way, the Town is ultimately in control of how to tax them. If you consider it a 17 acre going concern used as farm, I don’t see why you can’t keep the farm designation.
    Is it an issue with DEM revoking the farm certification? I feel like farms can be less than 10 acres in certain circumstances.
    …or, I would try to grind the owner to take the 15 acre price and give you all 17 acres…

    Kristopher Leadem
    Participant
    Post count: 6

    I believe they qualify for FFOS. I don’t believe a lease disqualifies them from receiving the FFOS rate.

    Ken Swain
    Participant
    Post count: 4

    Just a few questions to understand your issue:
    44-27-3(a) requires DEM to classify Farms in the FFOS program.
    1) Is this 17acre farm one parcel or multiple parcels?
    2) If multiple parcels, does each parcel have its own DEM Farm FFOS certificate? OR
    3) Did DEM approve the 17 acres based on cumulative acreage farm?

    From your explanation, this applies to this property

    § 44-27-3(a) An owner of land may file a written application with the director of environmental management, for its designation by the director as farmland or as dairy farmland.

    Please confirm that these annual FFOS declarations/certifications are current on the entire 17acre farm
    § 44-27-3(2) In order to maintain this classification, each year thereafter, the property owner shall submit to the assessor a certificate on a form prescribed by the assessor confirming that the land is still used in farming or dairy farming.

    Does this 17acre farm meet any of these criteria?

    § 44-27-3(3) Notwithstanding the preceding subsections, whenever the owner of land designated and classified as farmland or dairy farmland is a municipal land trust, municipal conservation commission, or private nonprofit land trust, annual certification is not required, and the classification continues until the voluntary withdrawal of the classification by the owner, or the transfer of the land by the owner in fee simple.

    Christine Brochu
    Participant
    Post count: 12

    Hi Ken,
    Thank you for the response and my answers are in capital letters:

    Just a few questions to understand your issue:
    44-27-3(a) requires DEM to classify Farms in the FFOS program.
    1) Is this 17acre farm one parcel or multiple parcels? MULTIPLE PARCLES
    2) If multiple parcels, does each parcel have its own DEM Farm FFOS certificate? NO OR
    3) Did DEM approve the 17 acres based on cumulative acreage farm? ALL SEVEN PARCLES WERE APPROVED ON THE SAME APPLICATION.

    15 ACRES WILL BE SOLD TO THE TOWN NOW AND THE SELLER WANTS TO GIVE THE TOWN A 5 YEAR LEASE ON THE TWO REMAINING ONE ACRE LOTS AND WILL SELL TO THE TOWN IN 5 YEARS. THE LEASED LOTS WILL BE USED BY THE TOWNN FOR FARMING.

    Christine Brochu
    Participant
    Post count: 12

    Yes, they have always sent in the annual form for all the lots. Very compliant with the program rules. I feel like the two acres are in the spirit of the Farm Forest and Open Space program because they still will be farmed. They just will not satisfy the 5 acre minimum. Since they are abutting the other 15 lots and will be leased to the town for farming I am considering just running it by the state. Have they replace Pete Susi?

    Ken Swain
    Participant
    Post count: 4

    Since all the parcels were approved as a Farm under one application, I would ask Gina Fuller of Southern RI Conservation District (gfuller.sricd@gmail.com) for assistance in classifying the remaining two parcels.

    I have a few FFOS Farm parcels here in Charlestown under 5 acres, so I would ask DEM or SRICD to classify them separately (just in case something happens in the future with the agreement with you Town).

    I agree with your statement to keep the Farm FFOS status due to the farming that will continue on the property (keeping in sprit with its original classification).

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