New York

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Riverhead, NY: Community Preservation Act

New York state law permits five towns in Long Island's Peconic Bay region to develop "community preservation funds" to protect farmland, natural areas and open space.  The five towns, including Riverhead, have the authority to enact up to a two-percent real estate transfer tax with proceeds going to the dedicated community preservation fund.  Riverhead has established its own Community Preservation law that details how the fund will be administered.  

Caton, NY: Cluster Subdivision Ordinances

The Town of Caton's subdivision regulations include a step-by-step conservation subdivision design process and cluster development provision designed to encourage flexibility, preserve natural qualities of open lands and reducing the costs of infrastructure.  A traditional subdivision plan can be submitted for major subdivisions only if it is demonstrated that a traditional layout would be most beneficial to the community and compatible with the site.  Otherwise, a cluster development is required that retains 50 percent of the land as undeveloped open space.

Easton, NY: Subdivision Ordinance

The town of Easton's emphasis on supporting agriculture and mitigating the impacts of new development on farms is evident throughout this subdivision law.  Minor subdivisions undergo a two-step process, while major subdivisions have a three-step process.  For projects that require environmental impact statements, the town requires an element describing the impact on agriculture when the proposed action is located within or contiguous to an agricultural district.

Beekman, NY: Incentive Zoning Ordinance

The Town of Beekman passed an incentive zoning provision in 2001.  The law authorizes the town board to grant zoning incentives to encourage "community benefits."  One of the benefits that a developer can provide is the permanent conservation of agricultural lands.  In exchange, the developer can receive an increase in permitted residential density or reduced requirements for non-residential development including decreased minimum lot sizes andsetbacks, or increased impervious lot coverage, floor area ratios or building heights. 

Stuyvesant, NY: Cluster Subdivision Ordinance

The Town of Stuyvesant uses an incentive-based approach to encouraging the cluster of new housing and the retention of prime farmland.  Landowners proposing cluster subdivisions on parcels greater than 10 acres can receive a density bonus of one additional lot for each 10 acres of buildable area.  The density bonus is in addition to the standard number of lots permitted by local law.  To be considered a cluster subdivision, 50 percent of the parcel must be permanently protected for conservation purposes.  

Washington, NY: Agricultural Zoning Ordinance (Overlay Districts)

The Town of Washington uses overlay districts to protect agricultural land and farm productivity.  Overlay zones provide incentives or institute additional development standards for parcels with certain characteristics.  Washington applies an agricultural protection overlay districts to parcels in certain zones that are greater than 10 acres, have at least 50 percent prime soils or are located in a certified agricultural district.  In addition, uses such as road side stands and housing for farm workers are permitted in the overlay district.

Eden, NY: Right-to-Farm Ordinance

The town of Eden passed a right-to-farm law in 2001.  The law establishes a farmer's right to conduct agricultural practices if those practices meet certain standards.  The law also establishes an informal, local process for resolving disputes between farmers and non-farmers.  The right-to-farm law's intention and purpose must be considered by the town when processing applications for rezoning, site plan approvals and special use permits within one mile of a farm.  



Charlton, NY: Right-to-Farm Ordinance

The town of Charlton established a right-to-farm law in 1996.  The law is well integrated with the state Agricultural Districts Law.  The law establishes a farmer’s right to conduct reasonable and necessary agricultural practices subject to some limitations.  The right-to-farm law also stipulates that a real estate disclosure notice be attached to a purchase and sale contract at the time an offer to purchase a farm is made.  Lastly, the law specifies a local process for resolving agricultural disputes. 

Seneca, NY: Agricultural Zoning Ordinance

The Town of Seneca adopted an updated zoning code in 2004.  The code includes an agricultural zoning district that permits one subdivided lot with one single-family dwelling for each parcel greater than five acres.  The density standards permit a maximum density of one unit if under 50 acres and one unit per 50 acres if over 50 acres.  The town and Ontario County use a computerized real property system that allows them to document permitted subdivisions.  

Warwick, NY: Comprehensive Plan

The town of Warwick has actively worked to support local farms and protect farmland.  The town's commitment to agriculture is reflected in its comprehensive plan.  The plan has a specific section regarding agriculture that outlines community objectives for supporting farms.  The agricultural section describes the town's agricultural resources and states why the town makes support for agriculture a priority.  Warwick's comprehensive plan also takes the important step of integrating agricultural interests in to sections regarding residential growth and business development. 

Genesee County, NY: Smart Growth Plan: 2010 Review Report

In 2001, the Genesee County Legislature adopted a Smart Growth Plan to minimize the impacts of additional growth and development that would otherwise occur as a result of the extension of water service.  The county set up a process in which it worked with town governments to identify "development areas" within the county.  The County committed to providing public water to these areas from county-funded portions of the county water system.

Seneca, NY: Comprehensive Plan

The Town of Seneca's 2002 update to its comprehensive plan reflects the important role that agriculture plays in the community.  Sections regarding agricultural districts/lands describe the town's agricultural resources and the importance of farming to the community.  Strategies are then identified to achieve the town's stated objectives of supporting farms and farm businesses.  

New York: Model Local Zoning Law for Roadside Stands and Farm Markets

The following sections contain proposed language that would incorporate into a zoning ordinance, as permitted uses, roadside stands and farm markets. The language should be inserted into the district regulations for each zoning district within the community where roadside stands or farm markets exist, or are being considered as allowed uses.

Included in the proposed language are statements of purpose for each of the two types of markets. These statements provide the community's rationale for allowing the uses within the framework of their zoning regulations.

Saratoga County, NY: Agricultural District Forms (Ag. Impact Statement)

Saratoga County requires any application for a Special Permit, Site Plan Approval, Use Variance or Subdivision Approval on property within an Agricultural District containing a farm operation, OR on property with boundaries within five hundred (500) feet of a farm operation that is located in an Agricultural District, include an Agricultural Data Statement.

New York: Differential Assessment Form (Affidavit for Rented Land)

Agricultural land which has been used as a single operation for the production of crops, livestock, or livestock products during the preceding two years but whose production does not independently satisfy the average gross sales requirement of Article 25AA of the Agriculture and Markets Law may nevertheless qualify for an agricultural assessment if the land is rented to another party for a minimum of five (5) years for use in conjunction with other land which qualifies for an agricultural assessment.

Pittsford, NY: Greenprint

The "Greenprint for Pittsford's Future' is based on recommendations contained within the Comprehensive Plan Update, adopted in April 1995, to save 2000 acres of land in the undeveloped portions of the community. The Greenprint encompasses all the undeveloped lands within the town of Pittsford and establishes preservation priorities for the highest rated agricultural resources, ecological resources and open space and cultural resources.

Southampton, NY: Local PACE Enabling Ordinances

The town of Southampton developed "agricultural overlay districts" to encourage the business of farming and protect productive farmland.  Parcels of at least 10 acres located within the overlay district are eligible for the program subject to a 10-year term agricultural easement during which the permitted development density remains fixed.  The town also assists landowners of enrolled parcels in obtaining local, state and federal funds for agricultural or economic development.  During the 10 year term, no development is permitted other than uses related to agricultural production.

New York's Farmland Protection Program: Conserving Our Farms for the Future

Across New York, municipalities, farmers and community members are coming together with a common goal: to protect our state’s working farmland for future generations of New Yorkers. Communities across the state have found that working farms preserve the quality of their drinking water, protect wildlife and natural areas, and contribute greatly to local
economies. This piece describes the state's successful farmland protection program and makes the case for increased funding in the future.

Call to Action: Farmland Protection Success Stories in the Empire State

In the past decade, towns and counties around New York State have been protecting farmland through a variety of unique initiatives and planning efforts. To honor these success stories, American Farmland Trust published Call to Action—Farmland Protection Success Stories in the Empire State. The 44-page book uses straightforward language and illustrative photographs to celebrate the efforts of New York state residents who have been working to successfully protect their precious farmland resources.

At a Crossroads: Agricultural Economic Development in the Hudson Valley

The Hudson Valley is home to some of America’s most productive, yet most endangered, farmland. Blessed with good soils and a long growing season, Hudson Valley farms produce a bounty of farm products for urban markets in the Northeast. Yet American Farmland Trust’s 1997 Farming on the Edge study ranked the Hudson Valley the 10th most threatened agricultural region in the country. Many factors have contributed to a steady decline in the region’s agriculture, including relentless development pressure, unpredictable weather and low prices for milk, apples and other farm goods.

Agricultural Economic Development for the Hudson Valley

The Hudson River Valley represents an economic mix of industrial, commercial, recreational and residential uses. Agriculture is an important economic and cultural component within this patchwork of uses. During the last forty years however, agriculture has undergone a slow transition caused in part by development radiating from nearby metropolitan centers such as Albany and New York City. The result is a fundamentally different agricultural economy serving a very different community base.

Agricultural Land Values and The Value of Rights to Future Land Development

We investigate the influence of future land development on current agricultural land values. From a theoretical model of land markets, we derive a reduced-form expression for agricultural land values in terms of observable variables. This result dictates the specification of our econometric model and we find strong support for the model in an application to New York State. The estimated model, together with a spatial interpolation algorithm, is used to generate a surface of estimated development rights values for Orange County.

New York Agricultural Landowner Guide to Tax, Conservation and Management Programs

Farmers have shaped the landscape of New York state. They have cleared the countryside, tilled crop fields and maintained woodlands and wetlands for centuries. Even today, more than seven million acres in New York are used for farming. Nationwide, our state's farmers are leading producers of many products, from milk and apples to sweet corn and maple syrup.


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