moderators, please feel free to move this topic for pertainance or exposure purposes...
Here's a copy and paste of a post that I've posted on another site concerning government intereferance of my rights to ride on my own farmland.
Please Take the time to read it and act accordingly, if you live in NC, you DEFINITELY want to get involved...
Please forward to any other sources that you feel may help spread the word and help protect our rights...
__________________________________________________ ____________ North Carolina General Assembly - NCGA - Representation
Link to find your Reps at the State Legislature.
It's Official, I'm tapped out from attorneys fee's and the attorneys won't file with the Court of Appeals until I can come up with another $10,000, and I've already spent $15,000...
At this stage of the game, Our best bet is to get some wording changed at the state level...
WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!!
This is not just about Soggy Bottoms, this wording we're trying to get passed will help anyone who has a farm and wants to try and make extra income from it...
It will also protect areas that you may already ride because it will limit liability for farmers that allow you access to ride on their land, or hunt their land, or fish, etc.
I will be posting another topic to let everyone know whats been going on, but this topic needs attention now...
Below is a copy/paste of a letter I've sent to The Dept. of Agritourism, Steve Troxler (Ag Commisioner), Senator Phil Berger, Rep. Nelson Cole, and Rep. Bryan Holloway.
The wording that we are trying to get put in place is underlined.
Please email your reps(link at top of page) as well as Steve Troxler ( Steve.Troxler@ncmail.net
) telling them that you support the "Farm Based Recreation Act"...
Also, please forward this to your local AMA/ATVA reps so that we can gain their support, Any of you who are Farmers Send it to your Grange reps...
We Can Make This Happen, and it will open up the possibility for there to be many more riding areas for us and our families to enjoy...
Gentlemen, This Email that I've forwarded you is an email that I sent to Martha Glass, in the Agritourism Dept. The reason I'm forwarding this to you all, is because there are things going on in Rockingham County that fly in the face of Farming, Preservation of Farms, Basic Property rights, and the protections that are given to agricultural land and uses. I will be glad to forward as many correspondences (between myself and state and county staff, as well as with my attorney), as you are willing to read, to give a greater depth and background to this particular email that you are so graciously reading now. I can also, gladly, meet with any or all of you, as you may see fit, to discuss the issues at hand. Some of you may be somewhat familiar with my particular case, due to the location in relation to your homes and offices, and some may have merely read a blurb in the local papers or heard about it from local officials or individuals, however I would ask that you please take the time to acquaint yourself with the background and facts of the case and the issues it has brought forth. I will also, as an attachment, send you a brief history of the case. But, rest assured, there is a lot more that has occurred, and a lot more at stake than just my particular situation. I'm also including an attachment that is a formal proposal for what I would've liked to accomplished, had the county staff not taken such an aggressive stance against me. The following email is the culmination of my attempts to save my families farm, and potentially many others..Please take this correspondence seriously. Thank You for your time and consideration,Sincerely,Jeremy Kahn 520 Baynes Rd. (Bethany)Reidsville, NC 27320 336-453-5272 cell336-951-3290 home
520 Baynes Rd.
Reidsville, NC 27320
--- On Wed, 11/19/08, Jeremy Kahn <email@example.com> wrote:
From: Jeremy Kahn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Fw: RE: Agritourism and ATVs...
To: "agritourism" <email@example.com>
Date: Wednesday, November 19, 2008, 10:24 AM
Martha,I hope my email yesterday didn't sound too abrupt, things have happened over the past few days that had gotten me a little incensed. I went home last night and worked on some wording for what I was suggesting in yesterdays email. I would appreciate your and your staffs input on whether this is something feasible, as well as should it be written to stand separate from agritourism or could it stand as a subsection of agritourism. The reason I've included some activities, in the following wording, that are currently included in the statutory definition of agritourism, is because it has become readily apparent through my dealings with the county, that some counties and their staffs are willing to circumvent the statutory wording to the point that many farmers could lose their farms because they can't afford attorneys to defend the rights and protections given to them by the state legislature. Case in point, during our superior court hearing(for writ of certiorai) the judge asked the county staff if Winery tours are considered agritourism if the winery used grapes that aren't grown on premises, and the counties response was "Only if they use on premises grapes can they be classified as agritourism", my lawyer responded with, "fishing and hunting are listed as agritourism activities, what are the requirements for those?" and the county responded, " If you raise catfish you can use your ponds for fishing as agritourism and hunting only if you raise game-fowl or the game being hunted".... Does this sound like the county is following statutory meanings??? Also, the activities for inclusion into agritourism aside, Rockingham County in their UDO specifies that even with an approved agritourism activity the UDO still applies and developement standards must be met, even though N.C.G.S. 153A-340 SPECIFICALLY PRECLUDES ANY ZONING AUTHORITY IN RELATION TO AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES. And N.C.G.S. 106-581.1 specifically states that agritourism is a protected agricultural use. So even if the particular activity itself wasn't in question, the county staff are countermanding statutory law by enforcing zoning authority, that they don't even have, to regulate agritourism... And if you are a financially troubled farmer who is trying to create an agritourism activity to help bring in income to save the farm, you probably can't afford attorneys to defend your rights given by the state. In fact, Paul, I believe it was, that is the ANA rep for the area, told me when I spoke with him about his vineyard and his VALID agritourism activity, that the county was making him jump through hoops for it to be a "COUNTY APPROVED" agritourism activity, and that he was having to spend tremendous amounts of money to meet the "development standards" that statutorily speaking the county doesn't even have the authority to set forth... So, Back on point, I've included activities, already listed by statute and definition as agritourism, to "put some teeth" into the protections that are handed down by the state, so that farmers who may not be able to afford an attorney, don't have to hire an attorney to protect the rights and protections given to them by the state.
In order to address the issues of ; maintaining productive farms and farmland, increasing the profitability of existing farms, increasing avenues for outdoor recreation, preserving non-farmed/non-farmable portions of farms so as to prevent excessive development of woodlands and open areas, and to protect farmers from liability arising from recreation activities on farmland; We hereby enact the "Farm Based Recreation Act" This act serves to define "farm based recreation" as a subsection of agritourism, therefore referenced by N.C.G.S. 106-581.1 , N.C.G.S. 153A-340 , and N.C.G.S. 99E-30. "Farm Based Recreation Activities" include but are not limited to: Clay Shooting, Hay Rides, Fishing/Hunting for fee, ATV/Dirtbike use, Mtn.Bike Trails, Hiking Trails, Equestrian Trails and activities, Disc-Golf courses, Archery, as well as other activities not considered passive in nature that normally occur in rural or agricultural settings. Notwithstanding the referanced items, to be considered a "Farm Based recreation Activity", the following guidelines must be followed:1. The property, where the "Farm Based Recreation" takes place, must be zoned for agricultural use and exist as a "bona fide" farm.2. Existing productive farmland, may not be converted to a recreational use that would preclude continued agricultural use of said farmland.3. Dedicated, recreation only, acreage is not to exceed the established agricultural acreage of said farm.4. Where recreation activities take place on agricultural land, Without disturbing the agricultural use, the acreage is to be calculated as agricultural acreage.5. Recreational activities are not to exceed what would be considered normal standards for agricultural activities in relation to noise, dust, fumes. End Wording: I do apologize for the "blowing up" of your email, I'm still trying to figure out why it sent before i was finished typing. I look forward to hearing from you concerning these matters. Thank You,Jeremy Kahn
520 Baynes Rd.
Reidsville, NC 27320