Bellefonte

Supervisors weigh agritourism rules

Supervisors will further review an amendment proposal that seeks to define agricultural tourism within the township.

A public hearing was held regarding the amendment during the Board of Supervisor’s regular meeting Monday. While the amendment provides a definition and conditions for agricultural tourism, several amendments related to other zoning ordinances warranted further supervisor review.

According to the amendment, agricultural tourism is defined as a commercial enterprise at a privately held farm for the enjoyment of visitors and generates supplemental income for the owner. These include shops, tours, nature trails and hayrides among other activities.

Several conditions came attached to the ordinance, including time restraints, approval by the township engineer and no alcohol permitted.

“This ordinance is in response to some discussion through fall and early winter,” Chairman David Wise said.

“The Planning Commission spent a great deal of time working on it.”

The ordinance was in response to some discussion through fall and early winter, he said.

Township residents brought concerns before the board in October in regard to a popular hayride service in the township, raising the issue of how agritourism is defined in the township.

Zoning officer Lindsay Schoch said the Planning Commission has been going “back and forth with this since September or so” and included residential input in creating the ordinance.

“This is satisfying both ends as far as we can as it’s written now,” she said, referring to comments made by residents and the Powell family, who run the hayride at issue.

Resident John Marchek said he hoped the board would consider the ordinance as written as the bare minimum that would apply to agricultural tourism operations.

“I would ask in addition to passing the ordinance as written ... that the nature of the business and the past history of the business be considered in setting additional conditions,” he said.

Vice Chairman Randy Moyer said it would be some time before the board revisits the ordinance, saying the additional amendments need to be further investigated before approval.

These additional amendments propose changes to several different zoning ordinances, including adding roadside/garden stands as conditional uses, that FAA requirements pre-empt zoning ordinances and language changes to the Spring Creek Canyon overlay.

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