Burton Township Land Use Plan - Agriculture

Burton LUP - Agriculture

CHAPTER VI

AGRICULTURE

 

Burton Township has a considerable tradition of agricultural activity. However, agriculture is being threatened by development pressure. Prime farmland, due in part to its gently sloping and well drained soil, is conducive to residential development. As a result, land values have risen enticing more farmers to sell their land. Fewer farms mean the loss of agricultural support businesses in the region and rural character. However, by protecting active farms and prime farmland, the prevailing rural lifestyle may be preserved and the local economy enhanced.

Agricultural Land

A review of Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) generalized land use/cover information from 1975 and 1996 indicates that active, agricultural land decreased by 12% during this time frame in the township. Burton ranked seventh in the county in terms of total land area in agricultural use (3,845.61 acres) as of 1996 (see Figure 17).

In 1999, the Geauga County Farmland Preservation Plan (GCPC) was completed with a local task force. The plan reinforced the need to preserve the county's rural heritage and set forth the following recommendations:

Geauga County's agricultural industry should be recognized for its contribution to the local and regional economy.

The business climate for agriculture should be improved.

Agricultural research and development activities should be advanced.

Educational outreach is critical.

A mix of tools may be needed to preserve prime farmland.

Prime Farmland

Approximately 41.5% or 6,208.58 acres of the township are rated "prime" farmland in terms of soil conditions (see Table 27 and Map 21). About 20.9% or 3,124.36 acres are considered "prime" with adequate drainage. As defined by the United States Department of Agriculture, prime agricultural land has the appropriate soil quality, moisture supply, and attendant growing season to produce a high crop yield when treated and managed in accordance with modern farm methods. Generally, prime agricultural soils will be more productive under intense cultivation than other soils, using the same management practices.

Table 27
Prime Soils
Burton Township

Agricultural Soils Acres  % of Township 
Prime 6,208.58 41.5%
Prime with Drainage   3,124.36 20.9%
Non-Prime 5,354.28 35.8%
Not Rated 264.04 1.8%

Total

 14,951.26  100.0%

Map 21
Burton Township
Prime Agricultural Soils

CAUV Program

There are several tax related programs available to assist the community in agricultural land preservation efforts. The Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) program offers a tax reduction on any tract of land containing 10 acres or more devoted exclusively to agricultural use for the last three years. A smaller tract of land may be included if it has produced an average income of $2,500 or more from sales of agriculture products during the previous three years and if there is anticipated gross income of such an amount. Map 22 shows the parcels enrolled in the CAUV program in Burton. There are 153 parcels totaling 3,775 acres, representing 25% of the township. Burton is ranked ninth among the other townships with regard to the number of acres enrolled in the CAUV program (see Table 28).

Table 28
Property In CAUV By Township: 2001
Geauga County

Rank by Acres Township No. of Parcels Total CAUV Acres Avg./ Acre per Parcel Rank by Avg./Acre Avg. AG Value per Acre Avg. True Value per Acre Rank by Value  
AG True % of Twp. in CAUV
6 Auburn 182 5,412.5 30 11 $497 $3783 8 7 28%
12 Bainbridge 49 1,972.4 40 4 $648 $5451 3 3 12%
9 Burton 153 3,775.00 25 15 $528 $3,089 6 8 25%
15 Chardon 54 1,454.05 27 14 $630 $4,556 4 5 10%
16 Chester 61 828.17 14 16 $1,182 $7,748 1 1 5%
7 Claridon 160 4,770.25 30 10 $399 $2,725 10 9 33%
11 Hambden 74 2,458.68 33 8 $329 $2,348 13 11 17%
4 Huntsburg 195 5,999.46 31 9 $368 $1,907 12 14 38%
2 Middlefield 240 8,058.6 34 6 $389 $2,093 11 13 54%
8 Montville 97 4,039.24 42 2 $302 $1,629 15 15 26%
13 Munson 48 1,673.51 35 7 $550 $4,702 5 4 10%
10 Newbury 130 3,791.48 29 13 $523 $4,298 7 6 21%
1 Parkman 224 9,186.96 41 3 $307 $2142 14 12 53%
14 Russell 50 1,463.73 29 12 $779 $6559 2 2 12%
5 Thompson 138 5,750.36 42 1 $213 $1,412 16 16 35%
3 Troy 179 6,520.22 36 5 $421 $2,388 9 10 40%

Source: The Geauga County Auditor's Office

Map 22
Burton Township
CAUV Parcels

Forestry Tax Program

Another program related to agricultural land preservation efforts is the Ohio Forestry Tax law. To qualify, the tract of land must be 10 or more acres in size, be outside of a municipality, and be certified as forestland by a state forester. In addition, the land cannot be used for grazing or be enrolled in the CAUV program. The tax reduction is 50%, plus there is no recoupment penalty if the land is removed from the program. Map 23 shows the land in Burton enrolled in the forestry program, which includes 66 parcels totaling 1,081.36 acres or 6% of the township. The initial application amount is $50 with no renewal fee. In comparison to the other townships within the county, Burton is ranked fourteenth with respect to the total number of acres in the forestry program (see Table 29).

Table 29
Property In Forestry Program By Township: 2001
Geauga County

Township # of Parcels Rank by Acres  Acreage  % of Township
Auburn 84 10 1,208.50 6%
Bainbridge 101 6 1,632.22 10%
Burton 66 14 1,081.36 6%
Chardon 184 1 2,819.27 19%
Chester 106 9 1,269.16 8%
Claridon 78 8 1,510.10 10%
Hambden 105 5 1,908.23 13%
Huntsburg 68 11 1,188.62 8%
Middlefield 13 16 640.11 4%
Montville 107 2 2,562.74 16%
Munson 150 4 1,909.72 12%
Newbury 166 3 2,500.53 14%
Parkman 58 15 1,080.05 6%
Russell 121 13 1,119.41 9%
Thompson 90 7 1,575.74 10%
Troy 57 12 1,157.33 7%

Source: The Geauga County Auditor's Office

Map 23
Burton Township
Forestry Program

Burton has a total of 4,856.36 acres or 31% of its land area in the CAUV and Forestry Tax Program (see Table 30). The township is ranked tenth overall in the county with regard to the total number of acres enrolled in these programs.

Table 30
Total Acres In CAUV and Forestry Programs By Township: 2001
Geauga County

Township Total Acres No. of Parcels % of Township Rank by Acres
Auburn 6,921 266 34% 6
Bainbridge 3,604.62 150 22% 13
Burton 4,856.36 219 31% 10
Chardon 4,273.32 238 29% 12
Chester 2,097.33 167 13% 16
Claridon 6,280.35 238 43% 9
Hambden 4,366.91 179 30% 11
Huntsburg 7,188.08 263 46% 5
Middlefield 8,698.71 253 58% 2
Montville 6,601.98 204 42% 7
Munson 3,583.23 198 22% 14
Newbury 6,292.01 296 35% 8
Parkman 10,267.01 282 59% 1
Russell 2,583.14 171 21% 15
Thompson 7,326.1 228 45% 4
Troy 7,677.55 236 47% 3

Source: The Geauga County Auditor's Office

Agricultural District Program

The formation of an agricultural district, which has qualification requirements similar to the CAUV program, is another protection tool available to farmers. Owners of land in an agricultural district receive a deferment on any assessments for proposed improvements (i.e. sewer and water lines). Legal protection may be provided against nuisance lawsuits as well as the use of the power of eminent domain by local governments. In relation to the other townships within the county, Burton is ranked seventh as to the total number of acres in the Agricultural District Program (see Table 31). Map 24 shows 23 parcels totaling 731.32 acres enrolled in agricultural districts, which is 4.9% of the township.

Table 31
Agricultural Districts By Township: 2001
Geauga County

 Communities   # of Parcels  Acres  % of Township   Ranking 
Auburn 49  1,448.89  7.8% 2
Bainbridge 24 1,074.37 6.5% 3
Burton 23 731.32 4.9% 7
Chardon 13 293.16 2.0% 12
Chester 28 494.93 3.3% 9
Claridon 38 1,501.38 10.4% 1
Hambden 24 690.99 4.8% 8
Huntsburg 5 285.66 1.8% 14
Middlefield 4 217.51 1.5% 16
Montville 10 407.75 2.6% 11
Munson 13 392.92 2.4% 12
Newbury 16 476.88 2.6% 10
Parkman 13 889.51 5.1% 4
Russell 8 235.13 1.9% 15
Thompson 25 838.96 5.1% 5
Troy 17 785.67 4.8% 6

Source: The Geauga County Auditor's Office

Map 24
Burton Township
Agricultural District Parcels

Agricultural Security Areas

The generalized agricultural security areas (ASA) shown on Map 25 represent potential targets for farmland preservation efforts. The map is based on the following:

Enrollment in the CAUV program, an Agricultural District, or Forestry Tax program pursuant to Ohio law.

A minimum of approximately 200 contiguous acres of farmland.

Prime agricultural soils.

Prevailing zoning regulations that permit agricultural activities, however, commercial and industrial uses are not allowed in the affected zone.

Farmland Preservation Tools

In November 2000, the voters in Ohio passed State Issue One. Thereby creating the "Clean Ohio Fund" that includes money for the establishment of an Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (AEPP). The AEPP is administered through the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). The thrust of the AEPP is to acquire development rights on prime, active farmland that is under the intermediate threat of development. Portions of Burton Township, based on the ASA map included in this chapter (see Map 24), may qualify for the AEPP. It is the decision of the individual landowners to submit an AEPP application. However, Burton officials may pursue this process as a means to preserve prime agricultural land in the community and to establish a lasting rural legacy.

Farmland Protection Program (FPP)

FPP is a voluntary Federal program that helps farmers keep their land in agriculture use. The program provides matching funds to state and local governments and non-governmental organizations with existing farmland protection programs to purchase conservation easements.

Bargain Sale

This technique involves the sale of property or development rights for less than fair-market value. The seller may use the difference between the appraised fair-market value and the bargain sale price paid by a public agency or qualified nonprofit organization as a charitable contribution for an income tax deduction.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

The CRP is a federal government program implemented in conjunction with the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The thrust of this program is to protect land that may be subject to high erosion levels as well as adjacent waterways and public wellheads by offering governmental rental payments to farmers to convert cropland to appropriate protective cover. Applicants must own the affected land for three years prior to enrollment. The contract period is ten years and rental payments may be up to $50,000 annually.

Map 25
Burton Township
Generalized Agricultural Security Areas

Land Banking/Outright Purchase

Selected undeveloped parcels are acquired as a means to discourage speculation and arrest development of sensitive parcels. The land is placed in a "bank" for future disposition. The land is bought in "fee simple," in other words, all of the rights to the land are purchased and a deed for the property is recorded with the county recorder.

Land Trusts

A land trust is a private, nonprofit corporation formed for the purpose of protecting and preserving real property. The nonprofit corporation status allows a land trust to take title to real estate or accept donations. There are various methods available for a land trust to acquire land. These include agricultural conservation easements, direct purchase in fee simple, life estate plans, and land donations. Once the land is acquired, the trust is responsible for monitoring it to ensure that the recorded restrictions on the property are enforced. At the state and national level, such organizations include the Land Trust Alliance, the Nature Conservancy, the Trust for Public Land, and the American Farmland Trust. Locally, the Chagrin River Land Conservancy is involved with conservation efforts.

Outright Donations

Involves a landowner transferring agricultural land to a governmental entity or to a land trust in the form of a charitable gift. The owner may reserve a life estate as a part of the transfer to ensure that he may remain on the property until death.

Cost of Community Services (COCS)

Previous studies of the cost of community services (COCS) have been able to show the net impact of major land uses (residential, agricultural, commercial, and industrial) on a community's ability to generate adequate income to pay for various community services.

Examples include Madison Township in Lake County where a COCS study showed that for every dollar of revenue raised from residential development $1.40 was spent on public services. However, for every dollar raised, by farm, forest, and undeveloped land, only 38 cents was spent on public services. The results were similar for a study completed in Auburn Township. For agricultural land the ratio was $1.00 of revenue for each 37 cents of expenditure, whereas for residential land the ratio was $1.00 of revenue for each $1.34 of expenditure (see Table 32).

Table 32
Comparison of Ratios of Revenue to Expenditures by Land Use
Selected Northeast Ohio Townships

  Ratios

Township

 Residential   Agriculture   Industrial/Commercial 
Auburn (Geauga County) 1 : 1.34 1 : .37 1 : .10
Madison (Lake County) 1 : 1.40 1 : .38 1 : .25
Shalersville (Portage County)   1 : 1.58 1 : .31 1 : .15 (commercial only)
Source: Frank J. Costa and Gail Gordon Sommers,
Center for Public Administration and Public Policy Kent State University 1999

By comparing the net impact of various land uses on the need for community services, local government officials and citizens may be better informed concerning community growth decision-making. The conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural uses is ordinarily an irreversible process.

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