Agriculture & Markets - Agricultural Districts - Agricultural districts; review

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§ 303-a. Agricultural districts; review. 1. The county legislative
body shall review any district created under section three hundred three
of this article eight years after the date of its creation and at the
end of every eight year period thereafter.

2. In conducting a district review the county legislative body shall:

a. provide notice of such district review by publishing a notice in a
newspaper having general circulation within the district and by posting
a notice on the home page of the county's website; posting such notice
in at least five conspicuous places within the district; and providing
such notice in writing by first class mail to those municipalities whose
territory encompasses the district. The notice shall identify the
municipalities in which the district is found and the district's total
area; indicate that a map of the district will be on file and open to
public inspection in the office of the county clerk and such other
places as the legislative body deems appropriate; and notify
municipalities and land owners within the district that they may propose
a modification of the district by filing such proposal with the clerk of
the county legislature within thirty days of the publication and posting
and mailing of such notice;

b. direct the county agricultural and farmland protection board to
prepare a report within forty-five days concerning the following:

(1) the nature and status of farming and farm resources within such
district, including the total number of acres of land and the total
number of acres of land in farm operations in the district;

(2) the extent to which the district has achieved its original
objectives;

(3) the extent to which county and local comprehensive plans, policies
and objectives are consistent with and support the district;

(4) the degree of coordination between local laws, ordinances, rules
and regulations that apply to farm operations in such district and their
influence on farming; and

(5) recommendations to continue, terminate or modify such district.

c. hold a public hearing in the following manner:

(1) the hearing shall be held at a place within the district or
otherwise readily accessible to the proposed district;

(2) a notice of public hearing shall be published in a newspaper
having a general circulation within the district and posted on the home
page of the county's website and shall be given in writing by first
class mail to those municipalities whose territories encompass the
district and any proposed modifications to the district; to persons, as
listed on the most recent assessment roll, whose land is the subject of
a proposed modification; and to the commissioner;

(3) the notice of hearing shall contain the following information:

(a) a statement of the time, date and place of the public hearing; and

(b) a description of the district, any proposed modifications and any
recommendations of the county agricultural and farmland protection
board.

3. a. The county legislative body, after receiving the report and
recommendation of the county agricultural and farmland protection board,
and after public hearing, shall make a finding whether the district
should be continued, terminated or modified. If the county legislative
body finds that the district should be terminated, it may do so at the
end of such eight year period by filing a notice of termination with the
county clerk and the commissioner.

b. The county legislative body may adopt any modification of the
district review plan it deems appropriate.

c. If the county legislative body finds that the district should be
continued or modified, it shall submit the district review plan to the
commissioner. The district review plan shall include a description of
the district, including a map delineating the exterior boundaries of the
district which shall conform to tax parcel boundaries; the tax map
identification numbers for every parcel in the district; a copy of the
report of the county agricultural and farmland protection board required
by paragraph b of subdivision two of this section; and a copy of the
testimony given at the public hearing required by paragraph c of
subdivision two of this section or a copy of the minutes of such
hearing.

4. The county legislative body shall complete the review process
described in this section by either terminating, continuing, or
modifying the district on or before the district's anniversary date. The
commissioner may, upon application by the county legislative body and
for good cause shown, extend the period for a district review once for
up to six additional months. If the county legislative body does not
act, or if a modification of a district is rejected by the county
legislative body, the district shall continue as originally constituted,
unless the commissioner, after consultation with the advisory council on
agriculture, terminates such district, by filing a notice thereof with
the county clerk, because the area in the district is no longer
predominantly viable agricultural land.

5. Plan review, certification, correction of any errors and filing
shall be conducted in the same manner prescribed for district creation
in section three hundred three of this article.