WEST FRIENDSHIP, Md. (AP) — A Howard County farm family is seeking to become the first in Maryland to reclaim development rights it voluntarily sold to the state decades ago.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation is holding a public hearing Thursday night in West Friendship on the request by brothers Mike, Steve and Mark Mullinix.

It’s been over 25 years since the family sold preservation easements on 490 acres for more than $560,000. Landowners who sold easements before September 2004 can reclaim those rights after 25 years if they can prove they can’t profitably farm the land.

Mark Mullinix says the family wants the freedom to sell the land for development if they choose. They’d also have to pay the state a calculated value of the easement.

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