262.850 Establishment of agricultural districts -- Legislative purpose -- Procedure --

Periodic review -- Withdrawal from membership -- Public hearing on

condemnation -- Notification of membership to property valuation

administrator.

(1) This section shall be known as "the Agricultural District and Conservation Act."

(2) It is the policy of the state to conserve, protect and to encourage development and

improvement of its agricultural lands for the production of food and other

agricultural products. It is also the policy of this state to conserve and protect the

agricultural land base as a valuable natural resource which is both fragile and finite.

The pressure imposed by urban expansion, transportation systems, water

impoundments, surface mining of mineral resources, utility rights-of-way and

industrial development has continually reduced the land resource base necessary to

sufficiently produce food and fiber for our future needs. It is the purpose of this

section to provide a means by which agricultural land may be protected and

enhanced as a viable segment of the state's economy and as an important resource.

(3) The local governing administrative body for an agricultural district shall be the

conservation district board of supervisors. The Soil and Water Conservation

Commission shall be responsible for statewide administration of the agricultural

district program and shall have sole authority to certify or deny agricultural district

petitions. The commission may apply for assistance and funds from the Federal

Farmland Protection Act of 1981 (Pub. L. 97-377) which may be available for the

development of the agricultural district program and may accept easements as

provided in KRS 65.410 to 65.480.

(4) Any owner or owners of land may submit a petition to the local conservation district

board of supervisors requesting the creation of an agricultural district within the

county. The petition shall include a description of the proposed area, description of

each land parcel, location of the proposed boundaries, petitioners' names and

addresses, adjacent landowners' names and addresses, and other pertinent

information as required in the petition application. The boundary of an agricultural

district shall be contiguous. No land shall be included in an agricultural district

without the consent of the owner.

(5) Upon receipt of a petition, the local conservation district board of supervisors shall

notify the fiscal court and any local or regional planning or zoning body, if any, by

sending a copy of the petition and accompanying materials to that body.

(6) The following factors shall be considered by the local conservation district board of

supervisors and the Soil and Water Conservation Commission when considering the

formation of any agricultural district:

(a) The capability of the land to support agricultural production, as indicated by:

soil, climate, topography or other natural factors;

(b) The viability of active farmlands, as indicated by: markets for farm products,

extent and nature of farm improvements, present status of farming, anticipated

trends in agricultural economic conditions and technology;

(c) That the proposed agricultural district meets the minimum size limit of two

hundred fifty (250) contiguous acres, unless the local conservation district

board and the Soil and Water Conservation Commission allow fewer than two

hundred fifty (250) contiguous acres if the proposed area meets a minimum

annual production performance established by the district board and approved

by the commission;

(d) County development patterns and needs and the location of the district in

relation to any urban development boundaries within the county;

(e) Any matter which may be relevant to evaluate the petition; and

(f) Whether an application is from more than one (1) farm owner, in which case a

preference shall be given to the application.

(7) The local soil and water conservation district board of supervisors shall review the

petition application and submit a recommendation to the Soil and Water

Commission within sixty (60) days of receipt. The local conservation district

recommendation shall be submitted to the commission in the form of approval,

approval with modifications, or denial of the petition accompanied by justification

for such a denial.

(8) The Soil and Water Conservation Commission shall review the recommendation of

the district board of supervisors and certify or deny the agricultural district's petition

within sixty (60) days of receipt.

(9) Upon the approval of a petition by the Soil and Water Conservation Commission,

the commission shall notify the area development district in which the agricultural

district will lie, the local county clerk, and the secretary of the Governor's Cabinet.

(10) Land within the boundary of an agricultural district shall not be annexed.

(11) The owners of land within the boundary of an agricultural district shall be exempt

under KRS 74.177 from any assessment authorized for the extension of water

service lines until the land is removed from the district and developed for

nonagricultural use. Any member, or any successor heir of the member, of an

agricultural district may withdraw from the district upon notifying the local

conservation district board of supervisors in writing.

(12) It shall be the policy of all state agencies to support the formation of agricultural

districts as a means of preserving Kentucky's farmlands and to mitigate the impact

of their present and future plans and programs upon the continued agricultural use

of land within an agricultural district.

(13) Agricultural districts shall be comprised only of agricultural land as defined in KRS

132.010.

(14) An agricultural district shall be established for five (5) years with a review to be

made by the local soil and water conservation district board of supervisors at the

end of the five-year period and every five (5) years thereafter. Each owner of land

shall agree to remain in the district for a five (5) year period, which is renewable at

the end of the five (5) years. However, the board shall make a review any time upon

the written request of a local government which demonstrates that the review is

necessary in order to consider development needs of the local government. The

board shall consider whether the continued existence of the district is justified, any

adjustments which may be necessary due to urban or county development, and other

factors the board finds relevant. The board shall revise the district as necessary

based on the review and subject to approval of the State Soil and Water

Conservation Commission. Before the state commission takes final action, all

interested parties shall be given the opportunity to request the state commission to

amend or overturn the local board's decision.

(15) The withdrawal of a member from a district reducing the remaining acreage of

agricultural district land to less than two hundred fifty (250) acres or resulting in the

remaining land being noncontiguous shall not cause the decertification of the

district.

(16) Any member of an agricultural district who has received a summons of

condemnation proceedings being instituted concerning the member's land located in

the district may request the local soil and water conservation district board of

supervisors to hold a public hearing on the proposed taking of land. However a

hearing under this section shall not be held if the petitioner in the condemnation

proceeding is a utility as defined in KRS 278.010(3) and obtained a certificate of

convenience and necessity as required by KRS 278.020(1).

(17) (a) The board shall notify the local property valuation administrator of the farms

which belong to an agricultural district and whenever a farm is withdrawn

from a district. The board shall also inform all members of a district of the

right to have their land assessed by the local property valuation administrator

at the land's agricultural use value and shall offer advice and assistance on

obtaining such an assessment.

(b) The board shall also notify the local property valuation administrator

whenever a farm is released or withdrawn from an agricultural district.

(18) The board may allow an amendment to an existing certified agricultural district if

approved by the commission.

Effective: July 14, 2000

History: Amended 2000 Ky. Acts ch. 115, sec. 1, effective July 14, 2000. -- Amended

1994 Ky. Acts ch. 390, sec. 32, effective July 15, 1994. -- Amended 1984 Ky. Acts

ch. 75, sec. 1, effective July 13, 1984. -- Created 1982 Ky. Acts ch. 451, sec. 1,

effective July 15, 1982.