AFD 2006-01 South Garden Agricultural/Forestal District Review

PROPOSED: Review, South Garden Agricultural/Forestal District; determine termination, modification, or continuation of the District; renewal cycle revised: 7-year to 10-year review period; created October 6, 1999, review prior to October 6, 2006.  Withdrawals proposed: TMP 109 - 70 (40.063 acres); TMP 110 - 8 (105.20 acres); TMP 110 - 18E (32.767 acres).  Addition proposed: TMP 110 - 7A (13.440 acres).  Current acreage 2,033.33; with additions/subtractions 1,868.74 acres; net loss 164.59 acres   

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA -- Rural Areas: agricultural, forestall, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre)

SECTION: Chapter 3.3-204; Chapter 3.3-225.5

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY: Rural Areas - preserve and protect agricultural, forestall, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/ density (.5 unit/ acre)


LOCATION: North Garden between Route 29 south and Routes 712 / 719 with northern boundaries adjacent to the South Fork of the Hardware River.

TAX MAP/PARCEL: Current composition: TMP 109 - 70; TMP 110 - 8; TMP 110 - 18; TMP 110 - 18E TMP 110 - 27 totaling 2,033.33 acres. 


STAFF:  Amy Arnold



Ms. Arnold summarized the staff report.


·         The South Garden Agricultural and Forestall District currently consists of 5 parcels totaling 2,033.33 acres.  This district created on October 6, 1999 with a 7-year renewal cycle is scheduled to be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors prior to October 6 of this year.  The South Garden District is generally located in North Garden between Route 29 South and Routes 712 and 719 with the northern boundaries adjacent to the South Fork of the Hardware River.


·         There have been no additions or withdrawals since the creation of the district.  Of the 2,033.33 acres that comprise the South Garden District 1,483 are enrolled in the forestry category of the land use taxation program while 520 are enrolled in the agricultural category.  Mixed deciduous and evergreen forest stands located in the district are a small portion of the near by expansive system of forests and ridge line.  In addition to the agricultural and forestall uses the South Garden District includes a few scattered residential uses.  Immediately surrounding the district are wooded mountainous parcels, open pasture, hedgerows and farms.  There are not any residential developments on nearby parcels and no development area land use designations exist nearby.


·         The open space plan identifies this area as part of a major open space system including important forests, agricultural land, major stream valleys, mountains and critical slopes greater than 25 percent.  Keeping these properties in the agricultural/forestall district will help protect farm land and mountain resources, which the Comprehensive Plan and Rural Areas ordinances seek to preserve.  Conservation of this area will help maintain the environmental integrity of the County and will aid in the protection of ground and surface water, agricultural soils, mountain resources, critical slopes and wildlife habitat. 


·         The parcels contained in the district are part of the South Fork of the Hardware River and Green Creek Watersheds.  With a high percentage of forest cover the South Garden District helps preserve the important water resources for the entire community.  The South Garden District is currently on a 7-year review cycle.  It has been County policy to establish a 10-year review schedule, which is the maximum for all districts.  The Agricultural and Forestall Advisory Committee has requested and staff recommends that the review cycle for the South Garden District be changed to a 10-year interval. 


·         Staff has received a request from a South Garden land owner to withdraw TMP 109 - 70 (40.063 acres); TMP 110 - 8 (105.20 acres); and TMP 110 - 18E (32.767 acres).  This request leaves TMP 110 – 18 totaling over 1,000 acres owned by the same land owner enrolled in the district.  This withdrawal represents a total of 178.03 acres.  The current acreage of the South Garden Agricultural District is 2,033.33 acres. With the proposed withdrawals the total acreage becomes 1,855.3.  The proposed withdrawals are illustrated in Attachment E and the proposed reconfiguration of the district is shown in Attachment F of the staff report.


·         The Agricultural and Forestall District Advisory Committee met on July 24, 2006 to review the proposed changes and configuration of the South Garden District and discussed its renewal.  The Advisory Committee in attendance voted unanimously to recommend renewal of the South Garden Agricultural Forestall District with the proposed withdrawals and one addition at the time and a revision of the renewal cycle from 7-year to a 10-year period.  At the time of the Advisory Committee’s review an adjacent land owner had requested that their 13.44 acres be added to the district.  Since the Advisory Committee’s meeting that land owner has withdrawn their request for addition. 


·         South Garden Agricultural Forestall District is one of the County’s twenty-four established Agricultural and Forestall Districts with acreage totaling over 64,000 enrolled in the program.


Ms. Joseph asked why the acreage was withdrawn.


Ms. Arnold replied that the property owners stated verbally that they may be interested in ultimately selling the property.  She assumed that it would be subdivided.  She noted that the owner left their largest parcel of over 1,000 acres in the district.


Ms. Joseph opened the public hearing and asked if there was anyone present that would like to speak to this item.  There being none, she closed the public hearing to bring the matter before the Commission.


Mr. Morris felt that the extension from 7-years to 10-years just makes sense to bring it in line with the other districts.  It is a shame to see that much acreage pulled, but it is their domain.


Motion:  Mr. Cannon moved, Mr. Morris seconded, to approve AFD-2006-01, South Garden Agricultural/Forestall District Review with staff’s two recommended conditions.


  1. The following shall be withdrawn from the South Garden Agricultural and Forestall District:

·         Tax Map 109, Parcel 70 (40.063 acres)

·         Tax Map 110, Parcel 8 (105.2 acres)

·         Tax Map 110, Parcel 18E (32.767 acres)


  1. The renewal cycle shall be revised from a 7-year to a 10-year interval.


The motion passed by a vote of 6:0.  (Commissioner Higgins was absent.)             


Ms. Joseph stated that AFD-2006-01, South Garden Agricultural/Forestall District Review would go to the Board of Supervisors on October 4 with a recommendation for approval.


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