2015 New York Laws
AGM - Agriculture & Markets
Article 25-AA - (Agriculture & Markets) Agricultural Districts
304 - Unique and irreplaceable agricultural lands; creation of districts.

NY Agri & Mkts L § 304 (2015) What's This?

304. Unique and irreplaceable agricultural lands; creation of districts. 1. The commissioner, after consulting with the advisory council on agriculture, may create agricultural districts covering any land in units of two thousand or more acres not already districted under section three hundred three of this article, if (a) the land encompassed in a proposed district is predominantly unique and irreplaceable agriculture land; (b) the commissioner of environmental conservation has determined that such district would further state environmental plans, policies and objectives; and (c) the director of the division of the budget has given approval of the establishment of such area.

2. Prior to creating an agricultural district under this section, the commissioner of agriculture and markets shall work closely, consult and cooperate with local elected officials, planning bodies, agriculture and agribusiness interests, community leaders, and other interested groups. The commissioner shall give primary consideration to local needs and desires, including local zoning and planning regulations as well as regional and local comprehensive land use plans. The commissioner shall file a map of the proposed district in the office of the clerk of any municipality in which the proposed district is to be located, and shall provide a copy thereof to the chief executive officer of any such municipality and the presiding officer of the local governing body, and, upon request, to any other person. The commissioner shall publish a notice of the filing of such proposed map and the availability of copies thereof in a newspaper of general circulation within the area of the proposed district, which notice shall also state that a public hearing will be held to consider the proposed district at a specified time and at a specified place either within the proposed district or easily accessible to the proposed district on a date not less than thirty days after such publication. In addition, the commissioner shall give notice, in writing, of such public hearing to persons owning land within the proposed district. The commissioner shall conduct a public hearing pursuant to such notice, and, in addition, any person shall have the opportunity to present written comments on the proposed district within thirty days after the public hearing. After due consideration of such local needs and desires, including such testimony and comments, if any, the commissioner may affirm, modify or withdraw the proposed district. Provided, however, that if the commissioner modifies the proposal to include any land not included in the proposal as it read when the public hearing was held, the commissioner shall hold another public hearing, on the same type of published and written notice, and with the same opportunity for presentation of written comments after the hearing. Then the commissioner may affirm, modify or withdraw the proposed district, but may not modify it to include land not included in the proposal upon which the second hearing was held.

3. Upon such affirmation or modification, a map of the district shall be filed by the commissioner of agriculture and markets with the county clerk of each county in which the district or a portion thereof is located, and publication of such filing shall be made in a newspaper of general circulation within the district to be created. The creation of the district shall become effective thirty days after such filing and publication.

4. The commissioner shall review any district created under this section, in consultation with the advisory council on agriculture, the commissioner of environmental conservation and the director of the division of the budget, eight, twelve or twenty years after the date of its creation, consistent with the review period set forth in the plan creating such district or every eight years if the district was adopted prior to August first, nineteen hundred eighty-three, and every eight, twelve or twenty year period thereafter, whichever may be applicable. Each such review shall include consultation with local elected officials, planning bodies, agricultural and agribusiness interests, community leaders, county agricultural and farmland protection boards, and other interested groups, and shall also include a public hearing at a specified time and at a specified place either within the district or easily accessible to the proposed district, notice of such hearing to be published in a newspaper having general circulation within the district. In addition, the commissioner shall give notice, in writing, of such public hearing to persons owning land in the district. After any such review, the commissioner may modify such district so as to exclude land which is no longer predominantly unique and irreplaceable agricultural land or to include additional such land, provided: (a) such modification would serve the public interest by assisting in maintaining a viable agricultural industry within the district and the state; (b) the commissioner of environmental conservation has determined that such modification would further state environmental plans, policies and objectives; and (c) such modification has been approved by the director of the division of the budget; provided, further, that if the commissioner modifies the district to include additional land, he or she shall hold another public hearing, on the same type of published and written notice. Then the commissioner may again modify or dissolve the district, but may not modify it to include land not included in the proposed modifications upon which the second hearing was held. After any such review the commissioner, after consultation with the advisory council on agriculture, shall dissolve any such district if (a) the land within the district is no longer predominantly unique and irreplaceable agricultural land, or (b) the commissioner of environmental conservation has determined that the continuation of the district would not further state environmental plans, policies and objectives. A modification or dissolution of a district shall become effective in the same manner as is provided for in subdivision three of this section, except that in the case of dissolution, a notice of dissolution shall be filed instead of a map.


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