Today’s Topic: Legislation establishes zoning and annexation exemptions for farms

by | Jul 26, 2011

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

Southern Farm Network logoThis week, Rhonda and Commissioner Troxler talk about new legislation that will benefit farmers whose land is part of a town or city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.

The General Assembly passed House Bill 168 in June, and the legislation accomplishes three things:

First, it gives specific examples of items or documents that can serve as evidence that property is being used for bona fide farm purposes. Any of the following items will count:

  • a farm sales tax exemption certificate;
  • a copy of the property tax listing that shows the farm is eligible for the present use value program;
  • a copy of Schedule F from the farm owner’s income tax return;
  • a forest management plan;
  • a farm identification number issued by the Farm Service Agency.

The second thing the bill does is prohibit cities and towns from annexing legally identified farms without the consent of the owner.

Third, the bill states that legitimate farms in a city or town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction are exempt from zoning requirements and ordinances.

These changes in legislation are important for North Carolina farmers, Troxler says, because as cities across the state have grown, so has their extraterritorial jurisdiction. ETJ is the legal ability for a local government to exercise authority beyond its normal boundaries.

There have been numerous instances where a farmer out in a county had a farm building in need of extensive repair. But when the farmer went to do the work, he found out that his farm had become part of an ETJ and was subject to local zoning and regulations. That meant the farmer had to get a building permit and deal with more regulations than he previously had to meet. The new legislation provides farmers with protection against these hurdles.

Click below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss this legislation.

[Audio: |titles=Today’s Topic for July 26]

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