Friday, October 11, 2013
Yesterday we linked to an article that described how the farmland preservation movement may end up hurting farmers. This comment from friend-of-the-blog Bill Fischel examines another unintended consequence of preserving agricultural land:
The real victims of the farmland preservation movement are not young farmers who cannot afford land to grow unprofitable crops. The victims are potential homebuyers who would have lived in developments that are forestalled by this and other open space preservation devices, which I label zombie zoning. The donors of these easements take a fat tax break (appraisals are seldom contested by the IRS) and often get state tax credits. The IRS requires that they be perpetual easements (hence the zombie) and the opportunity cost of making the donation is often zero or negative, which makes them more or less like zoning--but without any serious public oversight.