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Rural protection ordinances

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7,649
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29
Quijote said:
Something we need help with, for starters, is to get a look at other communities' versions of rural protection ordinances. We are in a planning process for our local small community (rural, but with significant urban intrusions and threats, and surrounded on three sides by urban development). We want an ordinance that protects particular rural qualities such as: the ability to keep livestock; the ability to practice agriculture and animal husbandry, even on relatively small pieces of land (less than an acre); protection of appropriate home occupation businesses without industrialization; we also need help figuring out appropriate set-backs to preserve the peace between home-owners and rural occupations (for example, composting business and horse stables vs. residents of high-density urban intrusion developments).
I thought this would get more attention as a separate thread. I am starting the thread on behalf of Quijote, who signed a recent e-mail to me with "un-techno-wizard". :-D (She will eventually get the hang of it. :) )
 

kms

Cyburbian
Messages
6,424
Points
40
Pennsylvania has Agricultural Security Areas that protect farm operators from nuisance ordinances. I think that the acreage requirement is low if the smaller parcel adjoins a larger one in ASA. Landowners join and it covers leased operations as well.

So, if someone form the city moves to a nice lot in the country, they could complain about the odor from livestock, but the the municipality couldn't require the farmer to change anything to improve the condition.

Maybe your state offers a similar program; check with your state department of ag. You can also read about it on PA Department of Agriculture.

I'm not sure if ASA addresses setbacks.
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
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25,802
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61

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
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1,046
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24
Not to be the complete cynic but I would also double check to make sure the landowners of agri/farm land actually want to be protected, assuming the farming is viable today.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
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26
Check your state's enabling statutes and your local Farm Bureau about enacting a local "Right to Farm" law.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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10,623
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gkmo62u said:
Not to be the complete cynic but I would also double check to make sure the landowners of agri/farm land actually want to be protected, assuming the farming is viable today.
Actually, I don't think that is cynical at all. It's a valid part of the public participation process. Sometimes a vocal minority can take a planning process in the wrong direction, so its always good to benchmark the stakeholders level of interest.


















Wow. That just sounded dorky...
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
25,802
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61
I agree with gkmo62u and Chet.
and Chet - that was not dorky.
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,369
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29
The American Farmland Trust website that has already been cited is probably your best single source. State right-to-farm laws ordinarily have limited applicability and need to be reinforced by local code provisions. Exacty what you need to adopt will depend on the type of agriculture there

Liberal home occupation provisions are not hard to draft. The key is to use good noise, vibration, odor, dust, hazmat, outdoor illumination, buffering, and similar performance standards to protect neighbors. The same is true for livestock: trying to regulate numbers of stock and other changeable factors is difficult. You need to use performance standards that can be enforced when there is a problem (which is always with the people, not the animals).
 

Hedwig

Member
Messages
15
Points
1
Michele Zone said:
I thought this would get more attention as a separate thread. I am starting the thread on behalf of Quijote, who signed a recent e-mail to me with "un-techno-wizard". :-D (She will eventually get the hang of it. :) )
Thanks, MZ; I think I just sent a completely blank message in trying to respond. Anyway, I wanted to thank you and everybody on this thread for responding-- I will follow up with the suggested sites.

With regard to checking with people about whether they want to be protected or not, point taken-- in our case, fortunately, we've been going through a lengthy public input process and have tried hard to get some of the biggest (absentee, community-hostile) landowners to participate-- we know that our efforts won't be successful unless we are as inclusive as possible.

Another complicating factor for us, with regard to agriculture: our village farmland used to be irrigated. Several decades ago, the urban center hoarded the water behind a dam in the mountains, severely impairing this community's ability to continue using its land as before. This is one reason why urban planners see our relatively flat farmland's "best and highest use" as for relatively high-density ticky-tacky housing, whose main beneficiaries would not be the potential residents so much as the developers. We've already had a number of these things, and the usual story is that the buidlings are defective, the homeowners' associations can't afford to keep up the amenities (they aren't inside city limits, where such amenities would be provided publicly) and the costs to the residents are nothing like "affordable," notwithstanding the developers' insistance on the mantra "affordable" when they appear before elected officials begging for variances and other special favors. The losers are the residents and the existing neighborhood.

So anyway, we still have open land that can't be "farmed" in the traditional sense, but many of the residents, who have lived here for many, many generations, still maintain animals and a "rural outlook" about their living place. They want to keep their sense of space. There is even a chance that we'll get compensation for our lost water-- the rights are not all extinguished and a sympathetic state legislator is going to bat with the state engineer on our behalf, so there could be some future small scale agricultural uses restored, but we are now in the sixth year of a drought in an already dry place, so whatever happens agriculturally will necessarily be water-wise. I think we could do some stuff like small greenhouse operations producing specialty organic produce for Santa Fe's restaurants, for example. Our next door neighbor stables a couple of dozen horses and teaches riding-- this kind of use could expand, if linked to other tourism-related efforts. (Our village is surrounded on three sides by the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, so tourism and art are big parts of our local economy). My husband and I are artists, so we benefit from the village's home-occupation zoning and its generally "live and let live" environment. It doesn't bother me a bit that just beyond the stables and the recently closed school of Oriental Medicine is a junk yard, for example, because this operation doesn't make noise or cause other nuisances.

Sorry for length, here, signing off, Quijote
 
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