Proactive step good for agri-tourism businesses

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Our Views

By The Staff

As the number of large farms continue to dwindle in the region, there is a question on what to do with the land.

Some land has been sold for residential, commercial or industrial development.

Other property has been maintained for new uses - such as wineries and small educational farms.

In Bullitt County, several locations have branched out to use the agriculturally-zoned property for these wineries and small farms.

On the small farms there might be petting zoos, antique shops or events featuring things like car shows. There might be school or church field trips.

But what happens if the use of the property moves closer to a commercial enterprise?

Should the agricultural property be forced into a rezoning situation with a free-standing commercial zone in the middle of non-business uses?

Or should things like wineries which feature live music late into the evening be allowed to do as they please?

A tough situation that could be faced by zoning officials in the very near future.

To stem off any possible problems, planners talked about creating an agri-tourism type of conditional-use permit process in the county.

No decision has been made and the current operators would be contacted before a meeting would be held.

But we think this is probably a good idea.

Administrative staff members have already gotten a few complaints on operations now located in agricultural classifications.

Not wanting to hurt the operations but still needing to protect the community, planners should seriously look at what other counties are implementing.

With the conditional-use permit, the one-time fee would allow planners to set some perimeters on the operations. If the owners are not pleased with the conditions set, they are more than welcome to seek a zoning change to commercial.

The county’s growth in alternative operations to utilize the farm land is tremendous. Planners looking to get a handle on the situation before it gets out of hand is a proactive way to deal with a potential issue.