Farm, Forest and Open Space

(PA 490 Programs)

The State of Connecticut’s General Statutes (12-107a) states that it is in the public interest to encourage the preservation of farm land, forest land, and open space land in order to maintain a readily available source of food and farm products close to the metropolitan areas of the state, to conserve the state’s natural resources, and to provide for the welfare and happiness of the inhabitants of the state and that it is in the public interest to prevent the forced conversion of farm land, forest land, and open space to more intensive uses as the result of economic pressures caused by the assessment thereof for purposes of property taxation at values incompatible with their preservation as such farm land, forest land and open space. In 1963, the Public Act 490 was enacted to allow assessment on farm, forest, or open space land to be based on its current use rather than market value.

Farm Applicants

Pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes 12-107b Subdivision (1) The term "farm land" means any tract or tracts of land, including woodland and wasteland, constituting a farm unit.

Farm applicants will be evaluated on the following criteria. Applicants are encouraged to submit documentation which addresses the evaluation criteria listed below. The assessor may request additional information depending upon the review of an application. 


  • Acreage under application
  • Extent to which the tracts comprising the land are contiguous
  • Gross income
  • Nature and value of equipment being used
  • Portion of land in actual farming use
  • Productivity of the land


  • Advertisement, signage
  • Checking account
  • Employment
  • Farm related buildings sufficient to support operation
  • Identified markets for product 
  • Income tax – Form F (gross farming revenues and expenses) 
  • Leases 
  • Membership in farming organizations 
  • Permits (zoning, ground water, etc.)
  • Sales
  • Trade name
  • Zoning requirements (approvals for use)

    Forest Applicants

    Pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes 12-107b Subdivision (2): Forest land is defined as “any tract or tracts of land aggregating twenty five acres or more in area bearing tree growth that conforms to the forest stocking, distribution and condition standards established by the State Forester. It must consist of one tract of land of twenty five or more contiguous acres, which may be in contiguous municipalities; two or more tracts of land in which no single component tract of land shall consist of less than 10 acres, or any tract of land which is contiguous to a tract owned by the same owner and has been classified as forest land pursuant to this section.”

    Open Space Applicants

    The term “open space land” means any area of land whereby the preservation or restriction of the use would 1) maintain and enhance the conservation of natural or scenic resources, 2) protect natural streams or water supply, 3) promote conservation of soils, wetlands, beaches or tidal marshes, 4) enhance the value to the public of abutting or neighboring parks, forests, wildlife preserves, nature reservations or sanctuaries or other open spaces, 5) enhance public recreation opportunities, 6) preserve historic sites, or 7) promote orderly urban or suburban development.

    Steps for Obtaining Classification

    An application to the assessor for classification of land as forest of farm must be completed and returned to our office. In addition to the application, please include the following as it pertains to you:

    • Farmers - Attached to your application, please include a sketch of the farm and the number of acres in each land classification and their location.
    • Forest Applicants - Along with your application, there must be a certified forester's report. For a list of certified foresters please contact the Department of Environmental Protection by calling 860-424-3630.
    • Open Space Applicants - Call the Assessor’s Office to see if your property qualifies as Open Space.  Complete the Open Space application.

    In 2015, Secretary Barnes of the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, in consultation with Commissioner Reviczky of the Department of Agriculture, approved and updated the values for land in the PA 490 program. These new values were applied for the October 1, 2015 Grand List and will be used for any new property entering the program.  The updated land values can be found here

    Please click on the link below for more information about the PA 490 program:


    Applications are accepted from September 1st to October 31st. By state law, filing deadlines during a revaluation year are extended through December 30th.