Agricultural Districts protect Chautauqua County’s farmland from the adverse effects of development by providing certain protections to the farming community. The benefits include limits to local regulation, limits to publicly funded construction and eminent domain projects, and discouragement of private nuisance lawsuits.
Farmers interested in adding land or removing land from a Agricultural District should submit a completed Agricultural District Inclusion Worksheet and a tax map depicting the location of the property to the Division of Planning & Community Development. The division reviews applications during the designated 30-day annual review period: January 2nd to January 31st of each year.
You can print out the appropriate map via the Chautauqua County GIS. Parcels requesting inclusion must meet the definition of “viable agricultural land” as defined in Agriculture and Markets Law § 301, subdivision 7. Lands already included in the district need not submit a request.
Review Process of Applications for Agricultural District Inclusion:
- The Chautauqua County Division of Planning & Community Development has been designated as the recipient of these requests. After the thirty-day period is over, the requests are forwarded to the County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board (AFPB) for review.
- After the AFPB receives the applications, the AFPB has thirty days to review them and determine the feasibility of adding them to the Ag District. After the review, the AFPB forwards its recommendation to the Planning & Economic Development Legislative Committee, requesting that parcels be accepted by the Legislature for inclusion into the Agricultural District. After review by the Planning & Economic Development Legislative Committee, the recommendation is forwarded to the County Legislature for a public hearing.
- Following the public hearing, the Legislature votes via resolution to accept the recommendation made by the AFPB. The County Legislature then sends the resolution to include the new parcel(s) into the existing Agricultural District to the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets along with the recommendation of the AFPB, the notice of the public hearing, tax parcel maps and tax numbers. Upon receipt of these documents, the commissioner of Ag and Markets has thirty days to certify the inclusion of lands or not. If the Commissioner certifies the inclusion of the parcels, the land becomes part of the District immediately.
- The County must still conduct full Agricultural District reviews every eight years. During this review, parcels may be added or removed from the district.