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ag district monica roth
In a joint Lansing Planning Board/Agriculture Committee meeting Cornell Cooperative Extension Agriculture Program Leader Monika Roth asked for board input on specific lots that should be included or removed from Tompkins County Ag District 1. The Planning Board is currently considering a new Ag District that would encompass most of the northern half of the town, so the timing of the town and county deliberations somewhat aligns.

Roth said the only major addition is the 500 acre farm that was formerly known as Kingdom Farm, which spans between Peruville and Buck Roads. The farm had been removed from the Ag district, but when it was sold to another local farm owned by Dale Mattoon, plans for development were dropped. A few small farms in the south were discussed, as well with attention given to whether or not they are currently being actively farmed.

Discrepancies in official maps caused some confusion, and while some planning board members were inclined to go along with the changes Roth proposed, it was decided to get a clearer map and allow time for Roth to contact the landowners to learn whether or not they want their properties included in the Ag District. A joint working meeting, possibly by the end of December, was proposed.

Ag districts were created to encourage farmers to continue using their land for farming. Being included in the County Ag District has the benefit that property owners receive agricultural assessment of their lands, as opposed to farmers outside the district, who must fill out applications for agricultural assessment each year if they want to qualify for the special assessment.

Tompkins County has two Ag Districts. Lansing is part of the 101,898 acre Ag District #1, which covers the eastern portion of the County and also includes Groton, Dryden, Caroline, and parts of Danby and Ithaca. 55, 876 acres of that land is actively farmed by landowners and renters.

Planning Board members discussed the disadvantage of being in an Ag District if a landowner is considering developing the land for a non-agricultural use. Roth explained the land included in an Ag district is evaluated every eight years, so if the landowner is not likely to develop before eight years from now a parcel can always be removed in the next cycle.

Roth said she needs the Planning Board's recommendations to the County by mid-January. She said that the final map will be discussed at a public hearing before being accepted by Tompkins County. After that is done the State must certify the new Ag District boundaries.

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