HB 403 -- Farmland
This bill allows any county to establish by ordinance a farmland
preservation program. Qualified farmland is to be managed in
accordance with the Soil Conservation Service and is subject to
the conservation agreement between the owner and the county.
This agreement will prohibit nonfarm use or development of the
land for 10 years, except that not more than 3 lots meeting
applicable zoning and subdivision regulations may be developed.
The owner is allowed to revoke his conservation agreement by
The county ordinance will provide for the formation of voluntary
agricultural districts consisting of contiguous acres of
qualifying farmland or the number of qualified farms deemed
appropriate by the Board of County Commissioners. The purpose
of agricultural districts is to increase identity and pride in
the agricultural community and its way of life and to increase
protection from nuisance suits and other negative impacts on
properly managed farms.
The ordinance provides for the formation of a county appointed
agricultural advisory board. The board can make recommendations
concerning establishment or modification of agricultural
districts and applicable ordinances thereon and hold public
hearings on public projects having impact on agricultural
operations, particularly if the projects involve condemnation of
all or part of qualifying farms. The board is to advise the
Board of County Commissioners on projects, programs, or issues
affecting the agricultural economy or way of life.
No state or local governmental agency is allowed to initiate any
action to condemn qualifying farmland within an agricultural
district until such agency has requested the local agricultural
advisory board to hold hearings on the proposed condemnation.
The board is to make written recommendations to the decision--
making body of the agency proposing acquisition.
Any county having a computerized land records system is required
to include a notice in the records to alert any person
researching the title of a tract that the tract is located
within one-half mile of a poultry, swine, or dairy qualified
farm or within 600 feet of any qualified farm or within one-half
mile of a voluntary agricultural district.
A county may provide by ordinance that its water and sewer
assessments be held in abeyance for farms inside or outside a
voluntary agricultural district until improvements on such
property are connected to the water or sewer system for which
the assessment was made.
A county is allowed to acquire by purchase agricultural
conservation easements over qualifying farmland located within a
voluntary agricultural district. An agricultural conservation
easement is a negative easement restricting residential,
commercial, and industrial development of qualifying farmland
for the purpose of maintaining agricultural production
The bill also creates the Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. The
Director of the Department of Agriculture is to use moneys in
the fund for the purchase of agricultural conservation
easements, including transaction costs, and is to distribute
fund moneys to counties and private nonprofit conservation
organizations for such purchases.
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Last Updated September 30, 1999 at 1:24 pm