Regulations and Ordinances

Land use regulations—zoning, subdivision and inland wetlands—can impact agriculture in a variety of contexts. Zoning regulations that limit the development density permitted on a property can have a negative impact on property values, an issue of special concern to farmers who are often "land rich and cash poor." Regulations can help reduce potential conflicts between farms and non-farming neighbors by creating buffers between the two. And what regulations permit in terms of structures, signage and retail sales can affect a farm family's ability to grow or diversify their business through direct marketing, value-added processing or agritourism opportunities.

As with businesses generally, a supportive municipal environment is important to the success of local farms. Regulations that address issues specific to agriculture and provide the flexibility needed to accommodate growth and change in farm businesses can help encourage new generations of farmers.

CRCOG Model Regulations

In 2007, the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) developed model regulations in consultation with 11 towns in its upper Connecticut River Valley region. The model regulations include: definitions of agriculture, agricultural buildings and structures, farms and limited farms; waivers of certain requirements of special permit applications that are for agricultural uses; regulations relating to farm stores, seasonal farm stands, agricultural structures, and additional uses of farms and limited farms; and signage.

The process of developing these model regulations in collaboration with municipal officials in the region will hopefully result in the adoption of a set of uniform regulations relating to agriculture among participating communities. This will be valuable to the region's farmers, who now face different regulations and requirements in every town in which they farm.

View the CRCOG Model Regulations.