Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk recently approved the Dane County Board’s passage of a new exclusive agricultural zoning district that will improve the county’s farmland preservation efforts. The new “A-4” zoning district provides for exclusive agricultural uses on small parcels of land between 5 and 35 acres. Falk said: “This new zoning district helps with farmland preservation efforts by enabling a farmer or landowner who wishes to protect a small parcel of land for farming to do so. This zoning category reserves the land for agriculture use and establishes farming as its basis of value.”
The new zoning category will facilitate the creation and sale of agricultural parcels less than 35 acres in size, potentially removing a significant cost barrier to new small-scale farmers, or existing farmers seeking to diversify.
The new zoning district could also provide possibilities for rural neighborhood-serving or educationally focused agricultural uses, including road-side farmstands, pick-your-own operations, or Community Supported Agriculture farms. Smaller parcels can support profitable operations, esepcially those focused on fruit or vegetable produciton for local markets.
The A-4 zoning district became effective on February 5, 2009, and is available to property owners wishing to create ag-use only parcels between 5 and 35 acres in size. Its creation was recommended by the Chapter 10 Revision Committee, chaired by Dane County Supervisor Patrick Downing. This committee, composed of representatives of the County, town government, agriculture and other businesses, is charged with recommending improvements to Chapter 10 of the County Ordinances (the County’s Zoning Code).
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