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agricultural assessment provided the owner shall substantiate in such manner as prescribed by the state board of equalization and assessment that the agricultural production initiated on such land would have produced an average gross sales value of ten thousand dollars or
more but for the natural disaster, act of God or continued adverse weather conditions.
§ 10. Subdivision 4 of section 305 of the agriculture and markets law, as amended by chapter 79 of the laws of 1980, the subdivision heading and paragraphs a and f as amended by chapter 758 of the laws of 1990, is amended to read as follows:
4. Limitation on the exercise of eminent domain and other public acquisitions, and on the advance of public funds. a. Any agency of the state, any public benefit corporation or any local government which intends to acquire land or any interest therein, provided that the acquisition from any one actively operated farm within the district would be in excess of one acre or that the total acquisition within the district would be in excess of ten acres, or which intends to advance a grant, loan, interest subsidy or other funds within a district for the construction of dwellings, commercial or industrial facilities, or water or sewer facilities to serve non-farm structures, shall use all practicable
in undertaking such action to realize the policy and goals set forth in this article, and shall act and choose alternatives which, consistent with social, economic and other essential considerations, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize or avoid adverse impacts on agriculture in order to sustain a viable farm enterprise or enterprises within the district. The adverse agricultural impacts to be minimized or avoided shall include impacts revealed in the notice of intent process described in this subdivision.
b. As early as possible in the development of a proposal of an action described in paragraph a of this subdivision, but in no event later than the date of any determination as to whether an environmental impact statement need be prepared pursuant to article eight of the environmental conservation law, the agency, corporation or government proposing an action described in paragraph å of this subdivision shall file a preliminary notice of its intent with the commissioner and the county agricultural and farmland protection board in such manner and form as the commissioner
may require. Such preliminary notice shall include the following:
(i) brief description of the proposed action and its agricultural setting;
(ii) summary of any anticipated adverse impacts on farm operations and agricultural resources within the district; and (iii), such other information as the commissioner may require.
The agency, corporation or government proposing the action shall also, at least ['thirty] sixty-five days prior to such faction] acquisition or advance of public funds, file a final notice of intent with the commissioner [of agriculture and markets, containing such information and in such
and form as he may require. Such notice of intent shall contain a report justifying the proposed action including an evaluation
of alternatives which would not require action within the agricultural district) and the county agricultural and farmland protection board. Such final notice shall include a detailed agricultural impact statement setting forth the following:
(i) a detailed description of the proposed action and its agricultural setting;
(ii) the agricultural impact of the proposed action including shortterm and long-term effects;
(iii) any adverse agricultural effects which cannot be avoided should the proposed action be implemented;
(iv) alternatives to the proposed action;
(v) any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of agricultural resources which would be involved in the proposed action
should it be implemented;
(vi) mitigation measures proposed to minimize the adverse impact of the proposed action on the continuing viability of a farm enterprise or enterprises within the district;
(vii) any aspects of the proposed action which would encourage non-
The commissioner shall promptly determine whether the final notice is complete or incomplete. If the commissioner does not issue such determi, nation within thirty days, the final notice shall be deemed complete. If
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the final notice is determined to be incomplete, the commissioner shall notify the party proposing the action in writing of the reasons for that determination. Any new submission shall commence
period for department review for purposes of determining completeness.
d. The provisions of [this paragraph] paragraphs þ and c of this subdivision shall not apply and shall be deemed waived by the owner of the land to be acquired where such owner signs a document' to such effect and provides a copy to the commissioner. Upon
notice from the commissioner that he or she has accepted a final notice as complete, the county agricultural and farmland protection board may, within thirty days, review the proposed action and its effects on farm operations and agricultural resources within the district, and report its findings and recommendations to the commissioner and to the party proposing the action in the case of actions proposed by
state agency or public benefit corporation, and additionally to the county, legislature in the case of actions proposed by local government agencies.
[b] f. Upon receipt and acceptance of (such) a final notice, the commissioner [of agriculture and markets) shall thereupon forward'a copy of such notice to the commissioner of environmental conservation, the secretary of state and the advisory council on agriculture. The commissioner [of agriculture and market's], in consultation with the commissioner of environmental conservation, the secretary of state and the advisory council agriculture, within forty-five days of the acceptance of a final notice, shall review the proposed action [to determine what the effect of] and make an initial determination whether such action would [be upon the preservation and enhancement of agriculture and agricultural resources] have an unreasonably adverse effect on the continuing viability of a farm enterprise or enterprises within the district, state environmental plans, policies and objectives, [and] or state comprehensive plans, policies and objectives.
[c. ] If the commissioner [of agriculture and markets finds that such proposed action might have an unreasonably adverse effect upon such goals, resources, plans, policies or objectives, the commissioner shall] so determines, he or she may (i) issue an order within [such thirty] the forty-five day period [to such agency,
corporation or government] directing (such] the state agency, public benefit corporation local government not to take such action for an additional period of sixty days immediately following such [thirty) forty-five day period; and (ii) review the proposed action to determine whether any reasonable and practicable alternative or alternatives exist which would minimize or avoid the
adverse impact on agriculture in order to sustain a viable farm enterprise or enterprises within the district.
[d. During such' additional sixty day period, the] The commissioner [of agriculture and markets shall] may hold a public hearing concerning such proposed action at a place within the district or otherwise easily accessible to the district upon notice in a newspaper having
general circulation within the district, and individual notice, in writing, to the municipalities whose territories encompass the district, the commissioner of environmental conservation, the secretary of state, the advisory council on agriculture and the state agency, public benefit poration or local government proposing to take such action. On or before the conclusion of such additional sixty day period, the commissioner (of agriculture and markets] shall report his or her findings to the agency, corporation or government proposing to take such action, to any public agency having the power of review of or approval of such action, and, in a manner conducive to the wide dissemination of such findings, to the public. If the commissioner concludes that a reasonable and practicable alternative or alternatives exist which would minimize or avoid the adverse impact of the proposed action, he or she shall propose that such alternative or alternatives be accepted. If the agency, corporation government proposing the action accepts the commissioner's proposal, then the requirements of the notice of intent filing shall be deemed fulfilled. If the agency, corporation or government rejects the commisşioner's proposal, then it shall provide the commissioner with reasons for rejecting such proposal and detailed comparison between its proposed action and the commissioner's alternative or alternatives. &
least ten days before commencing or approving an action which has been the subject of a notice of intento filing, the agency, corporaEXPLANATION-Matter in italics is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law
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tion or government shall certify to the commissioner that it has made an explicit finding that the requirements of this subdivision have been met, and that consistent with social, economic and other essential considerations, to the maximum extent practicable, adverse agricultural impacts revealed in the notice of intent process will be minimized or avoided. Such certification shall set forth the reasons in support of the finding.
[e] h. The commissioner [of agriculture and markets) may request the attorney general to bring an action to enjoin any such agency, corporation or government from violating any
of the provisions of this subdivision.
[f] i. This subdivision shall not apply to any emergency project which is immediately necessary for the protection of life or property or any project or proceeding to which the department is or has been a statutory party
§ 11. Section 306 of the agriculture and markets law, as amended by chapter 736 of the laws of 1988, the first undesignated' paragraph of paragraph b of subdivision 2 as amended by chapter 396 of the laws of 1990 and subdivision 5 as added by chapter 94 of the laws of 1992, is amended to read as follows:
§ 306. Agricultural lands outside of districts; agricultural assess ments. 1. Any owner of land used in agricultural production defined herein may make a commitment on a form to be prescribed by the state board of equalization and assessment to use such land exclusively for agricultural production for the next succeeding eight years. If an applicant rents land from another for use in conjunction with the applicant's land
land for the production for sale of crops, livestock or livestock products, the gross sales value of such products' produced on such rented land shall be added to the gross sales value of such products produced on the land of the applicant for purposes of determining eligibility for an agricultural assessment on the land of the applicant.
One commitment form describing all land used in agricultural production as a single operation shall be filed annually with the county, clerk of
the county or counties in which such land is located, on or before taxable status date, and shall entitle such land to be assessed for real property tax purposes pursuant to paragraphs a, b and f of subdivision one of section three hundred five of this article as if such land were in an agricultural district, provided the landowner annually submits to the assessor an application for an agricultural assessment, including, a copy of the commitment form, on or before taxable status'date. Nothing herein shall be construed to limit an applicant's discretion to withhold from commitment any land, or portion thereof, contained within a single operation. 2.
[If any part of such land which last received an agricultural assessment upon an assessment roll prepared on the basis of
a taxable status date prior to March first, nineteen hundred eighty-eight is converted by the owner who committed the lands or by any subsequent owner, during the period of any such commitment, to a use other than for agricultural production, such conversion shall constitute a breach of commitment and shall subject all of the land subject to such commitment to a penalty tax in compensation for the prior benefits of agricultural assessments, equal two times the taxes determined for all land value subject to such commitment on the assessment roll prepared on the basis of the first taxable status date on which the assessor considers the commitment to have been breached. All such land shall be denied an agsicultural assessment on the aforementioned assessment roll. The penalty tax shall be levied by or on behalf of each local taxing jurisdiction on the aforementioned assessment roll, and, when levied, shall become a tax lien on such land.
b.) (1) If land subject to a commitment, which received an agricultural assessment (on an assessment roll prepared on the basis of a taxable status date or after March first, nineteen hundred eighteight,] is converted [by the owner who committed the lands or by any subsequent owner, during the period of such commitment to a use other than for agricultural production), such conversion shall constitute a breach of commitment and shall subject the land so converted to [penalty taxes] payments in compensation for the prior benefits of agricultural assessments. The amount of the [penalty tax] payments shall be equal to five times the taxes saved in the last year in which land subject to such commitment benefited from an agricultural assessment, plus interest of six percent per year compounded annually for each year' in which an agricultural assessment was granted, not exceeding five years.
(ii) The amount of taxes saved for the last year in which the land benefited from an agricultural assessment shall be determined by applying the applicable tax rates to the amount of assessed valuation of such land in excess of the agricultural assessment of such land set forth the last assessment roll which indicates such an excess. If only a portion of such land as described in the commitment is converted, the assessor shall apportion the assessment and agricultural assessment attributable to the converted portion, as determined for the last assessment roll on which the assessment of such portion exceeded its agricultural assessment. The difference between the apportioned assessment and the apportioned agricultural assessment shall be the amount upon which [penalty taxes] payments shall be determined. [Penalty taxes] Payments shall be levied in the same manner as other taxes, by or on behalf of each taxing jurisdiction on the assessment roll prepared on the basis of the first taxable status date on which the assessor considers the commitment to have been breached.
[c.) (iii) Whenever a conversion occurs, the owner shall notify the assessor within ninety days of the date such conversion is commenced. If the landowner fails to make such notification within the ninety day period, the assessing unit, by majority vote of the governing body, may impose a penalty on behalf of the assessing unit of up to two times the total payments owed, but not to exceed a maximum total penalty of five hundred dollars in addition to any payments owed.
b. (i) An assessor who determines that there is liability for (penalty taxes) payments and any penalties pursuant to subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph shall notify the landowner of such liability at least ten days prior to the day for hearing of complaints in relation to assessments. Such notice shall specify the area subject to [penalty, taxes] payments and shall describe how such [penalty taxes ] payments shall be determined. Failure to provide such notice shall not affect the levy, collection, or enforcement of [payment of_taxes] payments.
(ii) Liability for (penalty taxes) payments shall be subject to administrative and judicial review as provided by law for the review of assessments.
(iii) An assessor who imposes any such [penalty taxes) payments shall annually report such [taxes) payments to the state board of equalization and assessment, in a manner and form determined by the state board by rules and regulations.
[d. ] (iv) the assessing unit, by majority vote of the government body, may impose a minimum payment amount, not to exceed one hundred dollars?
If such land or any portion thereof is converted [to a use other
3. Upon the inclusion of agricultural lands subject to a pre-existing
A [penalty tax] payment levied pursuant to subparagraph (i) of
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5, Use of assessment for certain purposes. The governing body of a municipal corporation which levies a benefit assessment or a special ad valorem levy behalf of a fire or ambulance district, may adopt a local law to provide that the assessment determined pursuant to subdivision one of this section for such property shall be used for the benefit assessment or special ad valorem levy of such fire ambulance district.
§ 12. The agriculture and markets law is amended by adding a new section 308 to read as follows:
§ 308. Right to farm. 1. a. The commissioner shall, in consultation with the state advisory council agriculture, issue opinions upon request from any person as to whether particular agricultural practices are sound.
b. Sound agricultural practices refer to those practices necessary for the on-farm production, preparation and marketing of agricultural commodities. Examples of activities which entail practices the commissioner may consider include, but are not limited to, operation of farm equipment; proper use of agricultural chemicals and other crop protection methods; and construction and use of farm structures. The commissioner shall consult appropriate state agencies, the New York state college of agriculture and life sciences, the U.S.D.A. soil conservation service and any guidelines recommended
by the advisory council on agriculture. Such practices shall be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
2. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, on any land in an agricultural district or under individual commitments created pursuant to section three hundred five or three hundred six of this article, an agricultural practice shall not constitute a private nuisance, when an action is brought by a person, provided such agricultural practice constitutes a sound agricultural practice, pursuant to
opinion issued upon request by the commissioner. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit an aggrieved party from recovering damages for personal in jury or wrongful death.
§ 13. Subdivision 2 of section 309 of the agriculture and markets law, as added by chapter 79 of the laws of 1980, is amended to read as follows:
2. The advisory, council on agriculture shall consist of [nine] eleven members appointed by the governor with the advice and
consent of the senate, selected for their experience and expertise related to areas of council responsibility. At least five members of the council shall be operators of a commercial farm enterprise and at least two members shall be representatives of local governments. The balance
of the council shall be comprised of representatives of business
or institutions related to agriculture. Members shall be appointed for a term of three years and may serve until their successors are chosen provided, however, that of the members first appointed, three shall serve for a term of one year,
three shall serve for a term of two years, and three shall serve for a term of three years. Members shall serve without salary but shall be
entitled to reimbursement of their ordinary and necessary travel expenses. The members of the council shall elect a chairman.
§ 14. Section 309 of the agriculture and markets law is amended by adding, two new subdivisions 8 and 9 to read as follows:
8. The advisory council on agriculture shall study the pressures faced by the farm community which inhibit the "right to farm" and which may lead to nuisance suits. The council shall recommend guidelines for the commissioner to consult when issuing opinions with regard to sound agri; cultural practices.
In developing such guidelines, the council shall review the laws of other states relative to right to farm and sound agricultural
practices. Upon request of the council, state agencies and institutions, including the department and New York' state college of agriculture and life sciences shall render assistance insofar as possibie and within funds available in preparing such
report. The advisory council shall issue a report of their findings and recommendations for guidelines to the legislature and the
governor by November first, nineteen hundred ninety-three.
9. The advisory council on agriculture shall study programs that are intended to reduce the property tax burden on farmers such as cultural circuit breaker and shall report its findings and any recommendations for legislative action to the governor and legislature on Novem; ber first, nineteen hundred ninety-four. The advisory council shall review information available in such areas as changes in property tax amounts
paid by farmers in relation to farm income and other expenses, trends in property taxes paid by farmers for schools,