Jefferson County Announces Thirty Day Period for Landowners to Submit Requests for Modifications to the Jefferson County Southwest Agricultural District #3

Since 1971, the creation of certified Agricultural Districts under NYS Agriculture and Markets Law has been important to the State and County level efforts to preserve, protect and encourage the development and improvement of agricultural land for the production of food and other agricultural products.

NYS Agriculture and Markets Law requires the County Legislature to review a District every eight years after it is created.  The County’s Southwest Agricultural District #3 is located within the towns of Hounsfield, Henderson, Ellisburg and portions of the towns of Adams, Watertown and Lorraine. The Southwest District consists of over 75,000 acres.  The eight year review process starts with a thirty day review period beginning on June 1, 2017 and ending on June 30, 2017.  During this review period landowners may request to add or remove land by completing a survey and submitting it to the Jefferson County Department of Planning.

Farmers currently in the District will receive a survey to fill out and farmers who are not currently in the district should contact the Jefferson County Department of Planning (785-3144) to obtain a survey to request being added to the district.  This form may also be downloaded from the Jefferson County website, under IN THE SPOTLIGHT.

Town maps showing district parcels may be viewed on the Jefferson County website under GIS Maps, Property Search & Assessment Rolls then click on the Jefferson County Resource Maps Page.

Possible benefits to farm operations within NYS Certified Agricultural Districts include: potential eligibility for a special agricultural assessment; support of farming through state agency policies; limitations on the exercise of eminent domain; limitations on benefit assessments in certain improvement districts; and limitations on the enactment of local regulations that unreasonably restrict or regulate a farm operation.

At the termination of the thirty day period, the District and any proposed modifications will be referred to the Jefferson County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board for review and recommendation.  A public hearing will be scheduled later this year to discuss the current District, any proposed modifications, and the recommendation of the Jefferson County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board.

Surveys must be returned by June 30, 2017 to:

Jefferson County Department of Planning

175 Arsenal Street

Watertown, NY 13601

Questions? (315) 785-3144

Fax 315) 785-5092

Further information on the benefits of agricultural districts may be found on the Planning Departments web page under NYS Certified Agricultural Districts.