1Description

District that prohibits (or subjects to conditions and limitations) non-agricultural uses. Permits use accessory to farming – usually for large lots –  25 to 100 acres.

2Purpose

Protect and promote farming in areas with prime soils where farming is still a viable part of local economy, principally by stemming market pressures for other uses and maintaining contiguous land areas large enough for farming.

3Issues

  1. Over time, flexibility is needed as agricultural markets change and this may be difficult to manage.
  2. Special permit uses, which provide some flexibility, can gradually erode integrity of agricultural area.
  3. Economic benefits both to landowners (land value, tax assessment) and community (tax revenue, net cost to service) need to be quantified.
  4. Political challenges of restricting development potential for land owners.

Capacity Requirements:

  1. Cooperation among landowners likely.
  2. Cooperation may have to be inter-municipal.

4Advantages

  1. Complementary to a larger smart growth pattern that directs development to designated growth areas.
  2. More beneficial to local economy/fiscal health than sprawl, which is more infrastructure-and-service-intensive.
  3. Can protect local open space natural resources from impacts of development.