2015 New York Laws
AGM - Agriculture & Markets
Article 25-AA - (Agriculture & Markets) Agricultural Districts
303 - Agricultural districts; creation.

NY Agri & Mkts L § 303 (2015) What's This?

303. Agricultural districts; creation. 1. Any owner or owners of land may submit a proposal to the county legislative body for the creation of an agricultural district within such county, provided that such owner or owners own at least two hundred fifty acres or at least ten per cent of the land proposed to be included in the district, whichever is greater. Such proposal shall be submitted in such manner and form as may be prescribed by the commissioner, shall include a description of the proposed district, including a map delineating the exterior boundaries of the district which shall conform to tax parcel boundaries, and the tax map identification numbers for every parcel in the proposed district. The proposal may recommend an appropriate review period of either eight, twelve or twenty years.

2. Upon the receipt of such a proposal, the county legislative body:

a. shall thereupon provide notice of such proposal by publishing a notice in a newspaper having general circulation within the proposed district and by posting such notice in five conspicuous places within the proposed district. The notice shall contain the following information:

(1) a statement that a proposal for an agricultural district has been filed with the county legislative body pursuant to this article;

(2) a statement that the proposal will be on file open to public inspection in the county clerk's office;

(3) a statement that any municipality whose territory encompasses the proposed district or any landowner who owns at least ten per cent of the land proposed to be included within the proposed modification of the proposed district may propose a modification of the proposed district in such form and manner as may be prescribed by the commissioner of agriculture and markets;

(4) a statement that the proposed modification must be filed with the county clerk and the clerk of the county legislature within thirty days after the publication of such notice;

(5) a statement that at the termination of the thirty day period, the proposal and proposed modifications will be submitted to the county planning board and county agricultural and farmland protection board and that thereafter a public hearing will be held on the proposal, proposed modifications and recommendations of the planning board and county agricultural and farmland protection board;

b. shall receive any proposals for modifications of such proposal which may be submitted by such landowners or municipalities within thirty days after the publication of such notice;

c. shall, upon the termination of such thirty day period, refer such proposal and proposed modifications to the county planning board, which shall, within forty-five days, report to the county legislative body the potential effect of such proposal and proposed modifications upon the county's planning policies and objectives;

d. shall simultaneously, upon the termination of such thirty day period, refer such proposal and proposed modifications to the county agricultural and farmland protection board, which shall, within forty-five days report to the county legislative body its recommendations concerning the proposal and proposed modifications, and;

e. shall hold a public hearing in the following manner:

(1) The hearing shall be held at a place within the proposed district or otherwise readily accessible to the proposed district;

(2) The notice shall contain the following information:

(a) a statement of the time, date and place of the public hearing;

(b) a description of the proposed district, any proposed additions and any recommendations of the county planning board or county agricultural and farmland protection board;

(c) a statement that the public hearing will be held concerning:

(i) the original proposal;

(ii) any written amendments proposed during the thirty day review period;

(iii) any recommendations proposed by the county agricultural and farmland protection board and/or the county planning board.

(3) The notice shall be published in a newspaper having a general circulation within the proposed district and shall be given in writing to those municipalities whose territory encompasses the proposed district and any proposed modifications, owners of real property within such a proposed district or any proposed modifications who are listed on the most recent assessment roll, the commissioner, the commissioner of environmental conservation and the advisory council on agriculture.

3. The following factors shall be considered by the county planning board, the county agricultural and farmland protection board, and at any public hearing:

i. the viability of active farming within the proposed district and in areas adjacent thereto;

ii. the presence of any viable farm lands within the proposed district and adjacent thereto that are not now in active farming;

iii. the nature and extent of land uses other than active farming within the proposed district and adjacent thereto;

iv. county developmental patterns and needs; and

v. any other matters which may be relevant.

In judging viability, any relevant agricultural viability maps prepared by the commissioner of agriculture and markets shall be considered, as well as soil, climate, topography, other natural factors, markets for farm products, the extent and nature of farm improvements, the present status of farming, anticipated trends in agricultural economic conditions and technology, and such other factors as may be relevant.

4. The county legislative body, after receiving the reports of the county planning board and the county agricultural and farmland protection board and after such public hearing, may adopt as a plan the proposal or any modification of the proposal it deems appropriate, and shall adopt as part of the plan an appropriate review period of either eight, twelve or twenty years. The plan as adopted shall, to the extent feasible, include adjacent viable farm lands, and exclude, to the extent feasible, nonviable farm land and non-farm land. The plan shall include only whole tax parcels in the proposed district. The county legislative body shall act to adopt or reject the proposal, or any modification of it, no later than one hundred eighty days from the date the proposal was submitted to this body. Upon the adoption of a plan, the county legislative body shall submit it to the commissioner. The commissioner may, upon application by the county legislative body and for good cause shown, extend the period for adoption and submission once for an additional thirty days. Where he or she does so, the county legislative body may extend the period for the report from the county planning board and/or the period for the report from the county agricultural and farmland protection board.

5. a. The commissioner shall have sixty days after receipt of the plan within which to certify to the county legislative body whether the proposal, or a modification of the proposal, is eligible for districting, whether the area to be districted consists predominantly of viable agricultural land, and whether the plan of the proposed district is feasible, and will serve the public interest by assisting in maintaining a viable agricultural industry within the district and the state. The commissioner shall submit a copy of such plan to the commissioner of environmental conservation, who shall have thirty days within which to report his or her determination to the commissioner. A copy of such plan shall also be provided to the advisory council on agriculture. The commissioner shall not certify the plan as eligible for districting unless the commissioner of environmental conservation has determined that the area to be districted is consistent with state environmental plans, policies and objectives.

6. a. Within sixty days after the certification by the commissioner that the proposed area is eligible for districting, and that districting would be consistent with state environmental plans, policies and objectives, the county legislative body may hold a public hearing on the plan, except that it shall hold a public hearing if the plan was modified by the commissioner or was modified by the county legislative body after they held the public hearing required by paragraph e of subdivision two of this section and such modification was not considered at the original hearing. Notice of any such hearing shall be in a newspaper having general circulation in the area of the proposed district and individual notice, in writing, to those municipalities whose territories encompass the proposed district modifications, the persons owning land directly affected by the proposed district modifications, the commissioner, the commissioner of environmental conservation and the advisory council on agriculture. The proposed district, if certified without modification by the commissioner, shall become effective thirty days after the termination of such public hearing or, if there is no public hearing, ninety days after such certification unless its creation is disapproved by the county legislative body within such period. Provided, however, that if, on a date within the thirty days after the termination of such public hearing or, if there is no public hearing, within the ninety days after such certification, the county legislative body approves creation of the district, such district shall become effective on such date. Provided further, that notwithstanding any other provision of this subdivision, if the commissioner modified the proposal, the district shall not become effective unless the county legislative body approves the modified district; such approval must be given on a date within the thirty days after the termination of the public hearing; and the district, if approved, shall become effective on such date. Before approving or disapproving any proposal modified by the commissioner, the county legislative body may request reports on such modified proposal, from the county planning board and the county agricultural and farmland protection board.

7. Upon the creation of an agricultural district, the description thereof, which shall include tax map identification numbers for all parcels within the district, plus a map delineating the exterior boundaries of the district in relation to tax parcel boundaries, shall be filed by the county legislative body with the county clerk, the county director of real property tax services, and the commissioner. For all existing agricultural districts, the county clerk shall also file with the commissioner upon request the tax map identification numbers for tax parcels within those districts. The commissioner, on petition of the county legislative body, may, for good cause shown, approve the correction of any errors in materials filed pursuant to a district creation at any time subsequent to the creation of any agricultural district.


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