Council members got a lesson in agricultural districts and the process of keeping them in tact at their meeting Monday night.
One Cuyahoga Falls man with a farm in the 600 block of West Steels Corners Road had applied to the county, then to the city, to place his property into an agricultural district.
Resident Daniel Michael Lynch, who has applied and was granted the designation before, said Summit County officials asked him to get the approval of Cuyahoga Falls City Council. Approval is needed every five years.
"I brought the copy down here and nobody knew what to do with it,” Lynch said at Monday night's meeting inside the Natatorium's Erie-Cuyahoga Room. "It’s not a tax break; this is something that kind of protects me from unwanted complaints from people about smells, noises.”
He's right. An agricultural district "provides protection for farmers from nuisance lawsuits, defer expensive development assessments until the land is changed to a non-agriculture use, and offers state scrutiny of local eminent domain acquisitions in certain cases," according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Benefits of enrolling in an agricultural district include (according to site): scrutiny of eminent domain acquisitions, deferring assessments and nuisance suits protection.
Cuyahoga Falls Planning Director Fred Guerra spoke in favor of the legislation that night. He said Lynch's request isn't against zoning codes on Steels Corners Road, east of Northampton.
"The request is to have this agricultural district, which is really more of a tax preservation than it is a zoning code," he said. "What Mr. Lynch has is five cows grazing his property. So what he wants to do is continue this agricultural district that would allow him to do this without increasing the taxes on the property."
City Council members unanimously approved the ordinance that night.
Lynch said understands why he was questioned about the renewal.
“I mean, cows in Cuyahoga Falls?” he said laughing.
Guerra said Monday night's decision doesn't affect the city much, but shining light on agricultural issues is definitely a good thing for Cuyahoga Falls.
He said the city will "encourage more agricultural living in Northampton — farming, community gardens, animals — and in some of our more rural areas."
In other news:
- Council approved a 110-feet by 55-feet building at the Brookledge Golf Club. The structure will store 76 golf carts and will also be used as a maintenance building at the golf course located at 1621 Bailey Road, Cuyahoga Falls.
- Council approved an ordinance authorizing the director of public service to enter into a contract or contracts for concrete and masonry repairs to the city-owned parking garages at 2035 Old Town Loop (the “Blue” parking deck), 2052 Front Street (the “Red” parking deck) and 2318 Second Street (the “Green” parking deck).