Darrell Hansen of Humboldt Creamery gives an assist to one of the creameries newest employees (Photo by Carrie Branovan)

Darrell Hansen of Humboldt Creamery gives an assist to one of the creamery's newest employees (© 2006-2007 Carrie Branovan)

 

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Humboldt County Farm Bureau Land Use Policy Concerning Agriculture and Other Rural Lands

The Humboldt County Farm Bureau Board of Directors has adopted the following Land Use Goals and Policies concerning Agricultural Lands within the County of Humboldt.

  • Conserve agricultural lands, and
  • Encourage the continued profitable production of high quality, Domestic food and fiber in the most efficient, responsible manner;
  • Protect the rural lifestyle of Humboldt County.

The Humboldt County Farm Bureau has established its Land Use Committee to provide comments on land use practices and proposals to the Humboldt County Planning Commission and ultimately the Board of Supervisors, as well as other governmental entities and non-profit organizations. The Committee meets monthly to review referrals from the County and others to address land use issues in our region that could affect agricultural lands and practices. The Committee consistently provides written comments pertaining to the potential effects each individual project may have on the future of agricultural production and with recommendations where appropriate.  Farm Bureau is one of many referral agencies providing input into the land use and development process.

The Farm Bureau’s Land Use Committee has built credibility with the County Staff, the Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors and other entities, through informed and consistent comments supporting the conservation of productive agricultural lands and other adopted Farm Bureau Goals in Humboldt County.  The Farm Bureau’s credibility on these issues is built upon consistent and objective application of the General Plan and Zoning Policies. 

Consideration and recognition of the landowner’s property rights is part of every case discussed by the Committee.  The Committee strives for a consistent application of the General Plan and zoning code regardless of the location of the project or the identity of the applicant.  Occasionally, the Farm Bureau Land Use Committee submits comments to agencies on a particular project that may result in a controversy surrounding the approval.

It is important to describe our goals and policies as leaders in the Humboldt County Agricultural Community and how the Land Use Committee operates so each member better understands our mission.

The following are the policies and guidelines that the Land Use Committee uses when commenting on various projects on behalf of the Humboldt County Farm Bureau.

Humboldt County Farm Bureau Policies Include:

  • Agricultural Parcel Sizes:
    • Farm Bureau has a long standing general policy of retaining large legal parcel sizes of agricultural lands which guides the committee comments where applicable. 
    • Farm Bureau strives to prevent the division of agricultural lands into parcels too small to realistically sustain agricultural use and advocates larger minimum parcel size in agricultural zones.
    • Planning and allowed land uses in agricultural zones should be driven by agricultural needs as their first priority.
  • Support the implementation of the General Plan and enforcement of existing building codes and zoning ordinances.
  • Conserve the productivity of agricultural lands as the highest priority use of rural lands in land use planning and agricultural zoning.
  • Conserve for agricultural use lands historically used for agriculture including Prime Farmland, Farmland of statewide or local importance, and unique farmland as designated by the Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program.
  • Prevent the encroachment of incompatible uses into agricultural areas of the County
  • Avoid confusing of the concepts of "open space", "viewshed" or "habitat" with the idea of "agricultural preservation" and the management of our productive resources.  Use of land for "open space", "viewshed" or "habitat" should not be regarded as equivalent to "agricultural use".
  • Recognize that the continuation and protection of the agricultural economic base within the County is in the public interest.
  • Support and participate in local planning that accommodates orderly, logical contiguous patterns of private urban development.
  • Encourage residential development within and adjacent to existing serviced areas.
  • Oppose large lot rural residential subdivisions on agricultural lands.
  • Emphasize efficient land use policies and plans for existing cities, towns and major unincorporated areas through infill development and increased densities within the areas serviced with adequate infrastructure.
  • Encourage the efficient use of public services, promote adequate housing sites, and conserve energy and natural resources. 
  • Oppose “Leap Frog” development into the agricultural areas because of the adverse effect on ongoing agricultural operations and the fiscal resources of  local government.
  • Support and encourage the continued implementation, including signed disclosure at time of purchase, of the Humboldt County Right to Farm Ordinance.
  • Discourage and prohibit parcelization for residential purposes, and other non-compatible uses of agricultural lands.
  • Limit recreational uses or other activities on agricultural lands to avoid a significant displacement of agricultural pursuits or negative impact on adjacent agricultural lands.
  • Stress the need for cooperation and agreement between the County and local service agencies (especially water and sewer) to adopt and follow the same urban limit lines.
  • Incorporate buffer zones on the land being developed to protect the adjoining agricultural and forestry operations in the county and city general plans and/or zoning ordinances and building standards.
  • Support the activities of local and state governments that reduce the fiscalization of land use decisions.  The “fiscalization of land use decisions” refers to local governments’ planning, zoning, and project actions that encourage certain types of development and discourage others based on future tax revenue financial considerations including eminent domain. 
  • Encourage the continuation of agricultural operations with minimal regulation and governmental interference.
  • Encourage the County and property owners to participate in and fully implement, monitor and enforce the Timberland Productivity Act (TPZ Zoning), Williamson Act and the Farmland Security Zone.
  • Prevent continued involuntary acquisition of resource lands by public agencies and quasi-public agencies, including non-profit organizations which remove resource lands from production. 
  • Support at least one agricultural or resource land representative to the Humboldt County Local Agency Formation Commission.