Farm and Open Space

Title 36, M.R.S.A. Sections 1101-1121 as amended by PL 195, c.603

Farm Land

This designation means (under the statute) land registered for long-term use in agricultural production.

Valuation - The assessor establishes the 100% valuation per acre on a current use basis, i.e. reflecting their value as agricultural land, not as developable land.

Requirements - At least one of the applicant's tracts must be 5 contiguous acres which produces a gross income of at least $2000 per year in one of the two or three of the five calendar year preceding the date of application. By April 1 of each fifth year, the owner must file an income report of the gross agricultural income derived from the subject property.

Withdrawal - Should the owner change the use of part or all of the property, a substantial penalty is assessed. Visit the Assessing Office for more information or read the State's Bulletin on the online: Property Tax Bulletin 20

Open Space

means (under this statute) registered land, the preservation or restriction of the use of which provides a defined public benefit.

Valuation - Either market value of open space land or an alternative percentage-based method is used. In the percentage method, a reduction from market value is granted for each restriction placed on the subject property: 

  • Ordinary open space land -20%
  • Permanently protected -30%
  • Forever wild -20%
  • Public access -25%

In no case can the land be valued at less than the prevailing tree growth valuation.

Requirements - A public benefit must be obtained in one or more of the following areas: 

  1. Conserving scenic resources
  2. Enhancing public recreation opportunities
  3. Promoting game management
  4. Preserving wildlife or wildlife habitat

Withdrawal - Should the owner change the use of part or all of the property, a substantial penalty is assessed. It should be noted that Tree Growth and Open Space land can have the effect of increasing the value of abutting property. If interested in either of these classifications, the property owner should contact the Assessor's Office for an application and explanatory bulletin or read the State's bulletin on the subject on line: Property Tax Bulletin 21

Conservation Easements - Easements are a good alternative to the Open Space program. With this method, the land owner grants a permanent easement to a third party, like the Freeport Conservation Trust or the Nature Conservancy, that prevents future development. The land will then be assessed at a very low rate for undevelopable land.