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.
The Town of Warwick's 1999 Comprehensive Plan recommended the establishment of a local purchase of development rights program that was approved by voters in a 2000 ballot initiative. The ballot initiative authorized the expenditure of $9.5 million for the acquisition of open space and development rights. The town's agicultural advisory board oversee the implementation of the program.
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.
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.
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.
The Town of Milton offers an "open space incentive option" that gives the town planning board the ability to increase the maximum density in the town's R2 zoning district. The provision allows the planning board to increase the number of permitted residences by 50 percent on properties greater than 10 acres if 50 percent of the land become permanently protected open space.
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.
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.
This zoning law features density averaging elements. Ithaca’s zoning code sets a minimum lot size of one acre and a maximum lot size of two acres for non-farm lots in its agricultural zone. In addition, the town planning board has the authority to require clustering of the non-farm lots as a condition of subdivision approval.
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.
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.
Kinderhook permits farm markets in almost all of its zoning districts as a means of supporting farm operations and tourism. This law defines farm markets and applies standards for their operation. In addition, the town permits seasonal farm stands in four of its seven zoning districts with fewer site requirements.
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.
The information requested in this form is for purposes of reviewing a local law/regulation and its impact upon a farm under the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law (AML) §305-a.
This document serves as a model agricultural easement for the Town of Perinton.
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.
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.
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.
A model zoning law for New York localities.
By filing this application, the landowner agrees that the lands that benefits from an agricultural assessment will be liable for payment in the event that the land is converted to a non agricultural use.
The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets considers answers to the questionnaire in conjunction with your §305-a Review Application to determine if an enterprise constitutes a “farm operation.”
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 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.
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.
By filing this application, the landowner agrees that the lands that benefit from an agricultural assessment will be liable for payment in the event that the land is converted to a nonagricultural use.
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.
This form serves as a model for an Agricultural Data Statement in New York for proposed projects within an Agricultural District.
A model subdivision law for New York localities.
The New York State PACE enabling law.
This ordinance enacts the Eden, N.Y. TDR program.
This ordinance establishes the purchase of agricultural conservation easement program for Suffolk County, New York.
This ordinance enacts the East Hampton, N.Y. local PACE program.
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 State's conservation easement enabling law.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Western New York's Erie County has a long-standing agricultural tradition. Blessed with fertile soils and a moderate lake climate, Erie County farms produce an abundance of products: milk, beef, poultry, greenhouse plants, vegetables and fruits - including the juice grape farms along Lake Erie.
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.