For More Information Contact:
Shelby Tompkins-Frangk, Planner
Shelby Tompkins-Frangk, Planner
Poughkeepsie, NY … The Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development has released the inaugural edition of its new publication, Blueprint: An In-Depth Look at Planning Issues. The first issue, entitled Fielding Farm-Friendliness Through Planning and Zoning, explores how communities can integrate farm-friendly practices into local land use documents. This report is a continuation of the County’s focus on agriculture and the work of the Dutchess County Agricultural Advisory Committee, and advances the “Farm-Friendly regulation” initiative outlined in the Dutchess County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan.
Within the document is a municipal toolkit for farm-friendliness, which outlines 11 tools that a community may use to implement farm-friendly practices in their zoning code, including:
• defining agricultural uses;
• utilizing agricultural land preservation;
• employing a modified site plan review;
• zoning for farm markets and roadside stands; and
• allowing alternative energy for agricultural purposes.
Recognizing that every community is different and that no single program or policy will strengthen farm-friendliness, this toolkit allows municipalities to choose the tools that are most appropriate for them.
The Dutchess County Planning Federation has also released a new Plan On It eNewsletter, Food for Thought: Supporting Urban Agriculture Through Planning and Zoning, focused on how communities can support urban agriculture through planning and zoning efforts. This article defines urban agriculture as taking place “within or around urban centers,” including cities, villages, town centers and large residential neighborhoods or subdivisions. The article discusses the most common types and benefits of urban agriculture, as well as potential community and zoning concerns, and a variety of ideas for the municipal regulation of urban agriculture – timely topics given the challenges and opportunities the COVID-19 pandemic has presented, offering urban agriculture, and local food in general, a renewed sense of purpose.
Additionally, the Dutchess County Agricultural Advisory Committee will host the first session of its free five-part virtual series, Farming in Dutchess, beginning with a session titled Communicating Agriculture: How to Work with Your Assessor and Enhancing Landowner/Lessee Relationships on Wednesday, February 24th at 7 p.m. This event includes a live panel discussion with six agricultural stakeholders –two farmers, an assessor, a landowner, and two land conservationists. The session discussion will include topics such as Agricultural Value Assessment, both from the perspective of the assessor and farmer/landowner; lease agreements, including securing a farmer on leased land; and opportunities to enhance farmland preservation. A question-and-answer session for audience members will follow the discussion.
The remaining series topics include:
• Social and land development pressures – March
• Ag education – April
• Resurgence of local food, farm markets and stores – May
• Food security – June
For more details about these virtual events, including dates, times and speakers for each, as well as registration information, please visit: https://www.dutchessny.gov/Departments/Planning/Farming-in-Dutchess-Virtual-Series-2021.htm
Matt Sabellico, Chair of the Agricultural Advisory Committee, said, “Dutchess County is truly an incredible place to farm and the work we are doing for Dutchess County agriculture is so very important. It gives me a deep sense of accomplishment knowing we are working to aid established farms, as well as up-and-coming ones, to be successful, and it all begins with knowledge. Getting relevant information into the hands of farmers, municipal staff, and members of the public gives the Dutchess County agriculture community the tools necessary to not only survive but thrive.”
Additional agricultural resources are available on the Department’s agriculture webpage.