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Agricultural and Rural Open Space

Preservation of Agriculture & Rural Open Space Functional Master Plan

Approved and Adopted 1980

The Rustic Roads Functional Master Plan amended the plan in 2004.

“In the late 1950s, agricutural and open space preservation arose as a social and economic issue. The loss of agricultural and open space land, as a metropolitan planning issue, was expressed in terms of metropolitan needs and problems — the need to preserve open space and the diseconomy in building the costly infrastructure to serve scattered suburban development. This was at the heart of the issue in 1956 when Maryland, the first state to do so, enacted a law to provide preferential assessments to farmland in the hope of encouraging farmers not to sell their property to developers. Today, 42 states have enacted this type of legislation. Despite preferential assessment programs, however, development pressure has continued tp erode farmland…”

From Chapter I: Policy Farmework, Preservation of Agriculture & Rural Open Space (AROS) Functional Master Plan (1981) p. 1

View the Preservation of Agriculture & Rural Open Space Functional Master Plan (1980) [pdf, 5 MB]

The complete document is represented by the index below:

Rocky Road
  • Details of Publication
  • Amendment, March 1986
  • Foreword
  • The Charge
  • Summary of Findings and Recommendations
  • Policy Framework
  • The Setting
  • The Facts
  • Farmland Preservation as a Public Purpose
  • Farmland and Rural Open Space Land use Program
  • Farmland and Rural Open Space Public Service Guidelines
  • The Next Step
  • Appendix
    • Summary of The Rural Density Transfer Zone and Rural Cluster Zone
    • Small Farm Economics
    • Description of the Maryland State Environmental Trust
    • Environmentally Sensitive Areas
    • Historic Sites Master Plan and Ordinance
    • Glossary of Terms


Montevideo RoadAgricultural Preservation Study Area
Planning Area
General Plan Concept
Subdivision Activity & Sewer Envelope
Septic System Suitability
Potential Stream Impact Areas, State Areas Of Critical Concern, Conservation Areas
Generalized Working Farm Map
Generalize Soils Map
Proposed Rural Area Land Use and Zoning
Public Resources – Sewer System
Public Resources – Water System
Trails System


  1. Estimated Number Of Development Rights In The Agricultural Reserve
  2. Dwelling Unit Potential On Vacant Land By Sewer Service Category
  3. Proportion Of Total Dwelling Units Constructed
  4. Price Distribution Of For Sale Housing