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Maryland Bill Seeks to Oppose Restrictions on Backyard Gardening

Backyard garden

The Maryland legislature is considering a bill (SB 62) to help prevent local jurisdictions from prohibiting or limiting the installation or cultivation of backyard gardens on single-family property.

The bill also prohibits property instruments, including contracts, deeds, or covenants, from prohibiting a homeowner or tenant from installing or cultivating a backyard garden on single-family property, and it specifies that the installation or use of a backyard garden is not prohibited by existing laws or property instruments.

Currently, State law does not limit the authority of local jurisdictions to prohibit the installation or cultivation of backyard gardens. Property instruments, such as contracts, deeds, and covenants, are generally permitted to limit the right of a homeowner or a tenant to engage in certain activity on the subject property, including the ability to install or cultivate a backyard garden.

When a person purchases a single-family home, a condominium, or an interest in a cooperative housing corporation, he or she may also be required to join an association of owners, which is intended to act in the common interests of all the homeowners, condominium unit owners, or cooperative owners in the community. Collectively, these associations are often referred to as common ownership communities (COCs).

Bill was heard on January 24, 2017, in the Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee. This bill would not have a direct, material impact on local government finances or operations.

Whether the bill passes or not, gardens will be allowed in College Park.

The Maryland Municipal League (MML) is opposing the bill, thus reducing the chance of its passing. The reason the MML is opposing the bill is not because they want the garden restrictions, but they don’t want the State telling the members cities and towns how those cities should manage those regulations.

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