A Purchase of Development Rights Program is an economic development and conservation tool to protect valuable farmland that is economically important to Michigan's second largest industry, agriculture. A PDR Program is a voluntary program that compensates owners of agricultural property for their willingness to accept a permanent deed restriction on their land that limits future development of the land for non agricultural purposes. Landowners are compensated for the fair market value of their land, based on the difference between what it could be sold for on the open market with no restrictions for developmental purposes and what it can be sold for agricultural purposes. After an agreement is reached with the land owner, an agricultural conservation easement is executed, protecting the agricultural use of the land for future generations. Once the easement is in place, the landowner still owns the land, retains all private property rights, can sell the land or pass it on to heirs, and has been fairly compensated for not exercising the development rights. The goal is to create blocks of protected farmland thereby helping to create a long-term business environment for agriculture.
Eaton County PDR Program
The Eaton County PDR program is a countywide program, which allows for the purchase of the development rights from a parcel of land. The development rights are the interest in a parcel of land that includes the right to build structures, to improve the land for development, to divide a parcel for development, or to extract mineral resources. Once these rights are sold, the land may continue to be farmed or held as open space, but it can never be developed. The landowner can receive some of their property’s financial value by selling its develop-ability value, but they retain the rights to farm it or keep it in open space.