Western Maryland delegate gets $427K from state

Del. Wendell R. Beitzel, a Republican representing Garrett and Allegany counties, was granted a $427,000 conservation easement Wednesday by the Board of Public Works. The easement, part of the Rural Legacy Program, will keep Beitzel's farm in Garrett County from being developed, a danger that Comptroller Peter Franchot wasn't sure was real or imagined. Franchot voted in favor of the measure, but said it "stuck out like a sore thumb." "We're paying $450,000 for a property in Western Maryland to protect it from development," the comptroller said during Wednesday's BPW meeting. "What development is going out there that I'm unaware of?" The Beitzels will get $4,935.85 cents per acre for the 86.51-acre farm. Administrative work, including appraisals and a survey of the property, add another $27,766 and bring the total cost of the easement to $254,000. According to the program description provided to the board, the easement will "protect valuable agricultural and forest lands, as well as provide a permanent forest buffer on 2,990 feet of Bear Creek and tributaries."

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