Agricultural Lands Planning
In late 2002, Jefferson County initiated an Agricultural Lands planning effort that is anticipated to be completed in 2006. The planning effort is related to unfinished tasks outlined in the Natural Resource Conservation Element of the 1998 Comprehensive Plan.
This 14-page staff memorandum from February 2003 provides background information:
- DCD Memorandum to the Planning Commission re: Agricultural Lands designation and regulation February 13, 2003
- Attachments and Referenced Documents
- Resolution Number 82-91: Open Space Tax Program 1991 (Available at DCD)
- Ordinance Number 08-0525-95: Interim Agricultural Lands Ordinance 1995 (Available at DCD)
- RCW 84.34.020 Definitions ("Farm and agricultural land," etc.)
- ESHB 2305: 2002 amendment to Shoreline Management Act
- 1998 Comprehensive Plan
- Unified Development Code (UDC)
- Settlement Agreement between the Washington Environmental Council (WEC) and Jefferson County (Available at DCD)
The steps of the planning effort are the following:
- 2003 UDC amendment to clarify the exemption from standard stream and wetland buffers for existing and ongoing agriculture (MLA02-485)
- 2003 Comprehensive Plan amendment to simplify Agricultural Lands designations and adjust associated policy language (MLA03-209)
- 2004 UDC amendment to establish regulations for Agricultural Activities and Accessory Uses (MLA04-26)
- 2004 Comprehensive Plan amendment to potentially change the land use designation of some parcels to Agricultural Lands on the official map of Comprehensive Plan Land Use Designations (MLA04-27)
- Ongoing basin-by-basin planning effort to establish basin- or site-specific agricultural best management practices (BMPs) to protect water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. Completion anticipated in 2006.
For more information, contact DCD Long-Range Planning.
DCD has produced an "Agriculture in Jefferson County Information Booklet," Summer 2004. This 12-page booklet is a must read for farmers and landowners interested in the new opportunities available on designated Agricultural Lands as a result of code amendments made in May 2004.
Additionally, the following are links to other sources of information about agricultural policy and regulation.
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Washington State Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG) provide example BMPs
- Washington Association of Conservation Districts
- Ag Lands Survey: Select Counties in Western Washington 2/03; Designations and Criteria, Tax Programs, Development Regulations, Densities
- Skagit County proposal for regulating ongoing agriculture