JOHNSTOWN - The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved inclusion of eight parcels encompassing 96 acres in three towns into the county's state-designated Agricultural District No. 1.
Property owners in such districts receive incentives and protections from the state if they maintain agricultural business there.
County Planning Director James Mraz recently told the board's Economic Development-Environment Committee agricultural district additions involve eight parcels and four property owners.
Johnstown attorney Eleanor Zimmerman discusses a property during a public hearing on Fulton County’s agricultural district at the Board of Supervisors meeting Monday at the County Office Building in Johnstown.
The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich
Additional land in the agricultural district will be: two 1.6-acre parcels owned by Paul Chupka on Midline Road in the town of Perth; three parcels of 12.4, 3.8 and 3.9 acres owned by Mark Brower on Berry Road in the town of Mayfield; two parcels of 1.4 acres and 46.2 acres owned by Malcolm Simmons on Route 30 in the towns of Perth and Mayfield; and one 25.3-acre parcel owned by Kevin Calyer on Cline Road in the town of Oppenheim.
Action to include the new parcels followed a public hearing Monday at the County Office Building.
During the hearing, Johnstown attorney Eleanor Zimmerman - representing Chupka's interests in Perth -noted the Fulton County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board recommended his property for inclusion in the district.
"We feel it would be arbitrary and capricious for this board not to approve his application," Zimmerman said.
Mraz said the county's Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board on April 10 determined the parcels to be predominantly "viable" agricultural land, and that it is in "public interest" to include them in the district.
He noted county government itself has no criteria to judge inclusion into the district.
Supervisors in March rescinded a resolution approved 17-1 in February that set such criteria. The board changed its mind after hearing from former Broadalbin Supervisor Lee Hollenbeck, who said criteria represented "unneeded regulation."
The board on Monday also approved having itself serve as lead agency for the state Environmental Quality Review process already concluded for inclusion of the new properties into the district.
In the same resolution, the board issued a negative declaration, meaning there is no environmental impact from the new district parcels.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at email@example.com