Authorizes the creation of an agricultural district with two hundred fifty acres or at least ten per cent of the land proposed to be included in the district, whichever is greater; decreases the amount from five hundred acres to two hundred fifty acres.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to agricultural districts
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To lower the threshold for creation of an Agricultural District from 500 acres to 250 acres.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Amends subdivision 1 of Section 303 of the Agriculture and Markets Law to lower the threshold for creation of an Agricultural District from 500 acres to 250 acres.
JUSTIFICATION: The Constitution of the State of New York directs the legislature to protect agricultural lands which are an economic and environmental resource of major importance. In the early 1970s, the legislature passed the Agricultural Districts Law to provide a locally-initiated mechanism for the protection and enhancement of New York's agricultural lands.
The Agricultural Districts Law authorizes the creation of local Districts to encourage and protect farming by assessing farmland based on its agricultural value rather than market value. In addition, the Law provides protection against overly restrictive local laws, government funded acquisition or construction projects, and private nuisance suits involving agricultural practices in the districts.
As the demand for local food by consumers, restaurants, schools and other institutions grows, there has been increased interest in maintaining and encouraging farms within suburban and even urban communities. Development pressure, high land prices, and dense population in these areas can threaten the continued existence of farms. Agricultural District protections in some of our more developed counties are not attainable because there is not sufficient farmland acreage to meet the current requirements of the Agricultural Districts Law, due to the significant loss of farms and farmland over the past 30 years.
This bill would update the current threshold for creating an Agricultural District to reflect the changes in farming that have occurred and would support the desire of the public to maintain and Grow the number of farms within their communities. All of the other existing provisions of the law, such as local input and county and state approval would remain in place.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the State.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6360 IN SENATE January 21, 2014 ___________Introduced by Sen. VALESKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Agriculture AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to agricul- tural districts THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 303 of the agriculture and markets law, as amended by chapter 357 of the laws of 1997, is amended to read as follows: 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
[five hundred]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. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD11473-01-3