Operating Hours for Agri-Business

 

Agri-business vs. general farming

There has been some community dialogue about the operating hours proposed for agri-business in the new Land Use Bylaw and how it relates to local farmers. Please read the following. Remember that this is a proposed bylaw and hasn't been adopted by Council yet. The public hearing runs from Feb. 28 to March 28 (details below).

What is a farm?

Farmers fall under the Extensive agriculture or Extensive Livestock uses which are not regulated within the proposed Land Use Bylaw (see definitions below) and are exempted from applying for permits for these uses. To be clear, the special "agri-business" regulations under Section 6.2 do not apply to Extensive agriculture or Extensive livestock (farmers).

Extensive agriculture means an agricultural use including a system of tillage, which depends upon large areas of land for the raising of crops. Extensive agriculture does not include a medical marijuana production facility.

Extensive livestock means an agricultural use involving the rearing of livestock either in conjunction with or separate from an extensive agricultural use, where the density of animals on the subject site is less than specified in the confined feeding operation regulation.

 

What is an agri-business?

Agri-business is a new and discretionary land use intended to enhance and promote the diversity of the industry of agriculture in Sturgeon County and is defined as follows:

-          Agri-business means a use, accessory to the principal agricultural use, that brings additional visitors to an agricultural parcel over and above the site visits generated by the principal agricultural activity(ies). This use is seasonal in nature and includes facilities for the retail sales of agricultural products on the same site as where the product is produced and/or, the use of features or facilities located on the parcel (e.g. corn mazes, market gardens, nurseries, petting zoos, fruit picking and wedding reception services). This use does not include agriculture product processing, an abattoir, bed and breakfast, an eating and drinking establishment, home-based business or intensive agriculture.

Section 6.2 of the proposed Land Use Bylaw does add specific regulations to the new Agri-business use which do include hours of operations, specifically

Hours of operation shall be specified by the Development Authority. The Development Authority shall have regard to, but is not bound by, the following guidelines:

(a)        8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday

(b)        8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday to Sunday and Statutory Holidays

These guidelines are in place to mitigate impacts of the retail/commercial activities (customers) may have on adjacent properties.  In many cases, there will be no impacts, and hours of operation can be set accordingly at the discretion of the Development Authority as per 6.2.  However, in some cases an agri-business may be located in close proximity to residential land uses, in which case this regulation can be used to mitigate impacts to these residences. 

What if I have an agri-business and a farm?

The agri-business guidelines in 6.2 do not apply to general farming operations;  just retail/commercial operations associated with that farm that generates additional visitors. You can plant seeds, feed livestock, harvest crops, or perform any other farm activity at any time of the day.

Sturgeon County needs your input!  

The new Land Use Bylaw is proposed, and the regulations within have yet to be adopted by Council. Sturgeon County welcomes any input at the public Hearing to inform how these regulations may impact your agri-business. Please plan to make a verbal or written presentation at our public hearing, which starts on Feb. 28 and concludes on March 28.