Agricultural processing is the act of changing an agricultural product from its natural state to a different form such as: milk to cheese, olives to olive oil, apples to juice, and fruit to jam. Many farmers are interested in processing their agricultural commodities into a higher value, consumer product to increase their economic profitably and help maintain the economic viability of their agricultural operation.
Up until mid 2014, the County’s Zoning required all such proposals in agricultural areas to be approved on a case- by-case basis through a discretionary Use Permit process. However processing of a Use Permit can require significant time and resources which may be beyond the means of a small start-up operation. To help small processing operations get started, the County’s Zoning Code was amended in mid 2014 to establish a simpler, less expensive process which small-scale agricultural processing facilities which meet specified standards and criteria to be approved through a ministerial zoning permit approval process. Summary of the process and Zoning Code standards for such small-scale operations.
The Zoning Code standards for small agricultural processing operations were adopted to help ensure neighborhood compatibility and to minimize potential impacts. However, it is important to note that the Zoning Code does not reduce or alter any of the regulatory requirements of other Federal, State, or Local agencies with regulate the agricultural processing or associated activities and where applicable, those requirements must be complied with as well as those set forth in the Zoning Code.