New County Agricultural Plan Under Planning Commission Review

Kitsap County is proposing a new County Agriculture Code. It is currently being reviewed by the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission has terminated taking public testimony on the plan. No date has been provided when the Planning Commission will hold a final Public Hearing on the Plan. The Draft code can be read here: http://www.kitsapgov.com/dcd/community_plan/ag_code_update2015/documents/AC_PC_Delib_Public_2015_0915_TrackChanges.pdf

The Code Implements a Kitsap County Agricultural Strategic Plan.

“Enable implementation of the County Comprehensive Goals and the Kitsap County Agricultural Strategic Plan. “

Defines Farms and Agricultural Land Uses

  • “Farm: means any size parcel or parcels owned or leased, by the same person or entity managed for primary agriculture use, that are used by the farm operator to produce and/or manage food, fiber, livestock boarding, or any combination thereof.
  • Farm, Commercial: means a farm designated as “farm and agricultural land” by the Kitsap County Assessor or exceeds a three year average of $1,000 in gross sales of agricultural products produced on the farm or investment in the planting of an orchard, vineyard, berry field or other perennial on the farm, or any combination thereof. The three year average of gross sales or investment must exceed $10,000 to qualify as a commercial farm for the 720 square foot agricultural structure exemption or for the increased permissibility associated with wineries, breweries, cideries, distilleries, or assembly events. IRS farm income schedules shall be used to determine a three year average.
  • Agriculture, Existing and Ongoing: for the purposes of this chapter means a use, use of a structure or a structure that was legally vested or established at or prior to the date of the applicable regulations. A use of land, a structure or use of a structure for agricultural purposes is otherwise regulated by 17.110.510 Nonconforming Use, Nonconforming Structure or Nonconforming Use of Structure. When referring to critical area regulations the definition for Existing and Ongoing agriculture in KCC Title 19 shall be used.”
  • No mention of non commercial Farms (Hobby Farms).

 Agricultural Use Standards

Implements Federal Land Conservation standards for the county

“Uses permitted by this section shall be in accordance with the following regulatory elements:

  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG) shall be used to create a farm plan if referred to this section 

Agriculture Structures Requirements

  • “Setbacks: Agricultural structures shall comply with all setback requirements explicitly stated or referenced in this section. When conflicting setbacks occur the more restrictive setback requirement shall apply (See Figure 1: Example Agriculture Structure Buildable Area Site Plan):
  • Fifty feet from any parcel line except ; A setback reduction to a setback reduction to ten feet from a parcel line may be allowed for all agricultural structures that do not house, confine, or feed livestock provided the parcel line is not part of a right of way or part of an access easement serving five or more parcels,
  • Specific Provisions:
  • Best Management Practices shall govern animal densities.
    No supplemental feeding area, paddock or stable shall be located within fifty feet of the farm property line. Non-conformities shall refer to 17.460 ‘Non-conforming uses, structures, and use of structures’.”

Accessory Agricultural Use or Agritourism:

“An accessory agricultural use or agritourism use is allowed where a primary agricultural use exists and is allowed. The accessory agricultural use shall be operated so as to not interfere with the primary agricultural use and shall not significantly interfere with the rural character of an area.

A farm stand or farm market is an allowed accessory agricultural use provided that:

  • At least 75% of the number of farm inventory available for sale must be produced or processed within Kitsap County or counties immediately adjacent to Kitsap County;
  • All farm products available for sale must be produced or processed within the state of Washington
  • Farm support items or other incidental items available for sale must directly relate to the farm products sold at the farm stand such as seeds, garden and farm hand implements tools and supplies, feed and forage, agricultural education and training or show materials, compost, and other similar items. Sales of farm support or incidental items shall not exceed 10% of the total gross sales;
  • A farm stand shall use legal access, off-street parking, and implement traffic planning measures so that adjacent properties are not impacted; and Kitsap County may request that the owner of the farm stand provide a summary of year to date gross sales and an inventory of items, including where they were produced and processed.”

Right to Farm and Notifications
“The conservation and protection of agricultural lands or farms in Kitsap County is considered economically and nutritionally beneficial. Protection of these lands will enhance the cultural and economic diversity and retain the Kitsap County character.

Kitsap County declares that agricultural operations in conformance with agricultural best management practices is not a public or private nuisance under this code;

No agricultural operation or any of its appurtenances will be considered by Kitsap County to be or become a nuisance, private or public, by any changes in or on the surrounding land; provided, that the provisions of this subsection shall not apply whenever a nuisance results from the unlawful operation of any such agricultural operation or its appurtenances. “

Notification
“All landowners in Kitsap County shall receive a notice in the annual tax statement newsletter that unincorporated parcels in Kitsap County may be within or near agricultural lands on which a variety of commercial activities may occur.”

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