Applications for county ag district due by Dec. 30

He said that it also puts people on notice, for example, that if planning boards are reviewing subdivisions and they're creating housing lots next to farming divisions, notice needs to be provided to homeowners that they're building next to an agricultural zone and to expect noises, odors and farm activity.

Feeney also expanded on what an overly restrictive zoning law might entail.

"For example, if Duanesburg adopted a law that said no one can put barb-wire fencing up, the New York State Department of Agricultural and Markets could step in and say, 'That's overly restrictive on an agricultural operation, and the town can't enforce it,'" said Feeney.

As of April 2002, 341 agricultural districts existed statewide, containing approximately 21,500 farms and 8.6 million acres " this is about 30 percent of New York's total land area. Another benefit of belonging to an agriculture district is that farmland owners can receive real property assessments based on the value of their land for agricultural production rather than on its development value. According to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, farmers receiving agricultural assessment collectively save more than $70 million annually.

Requests must be submitted to the Schenectady County Department of Economic Development and Planning, 107 Nott Terrace, Suite 303, Schenectady 12308. Requests must include a description of the land including the principal farm enterprise being undertaken, telephone number and a tax map identification number for each parcel to be included.

Application forms can be obtained by contacting the Department of Economic Development and Planning at 386-2225.""

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