SENATE BILL NO. 333
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 3 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO AGRICULTURAL LANDS PRESERVATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :
Section 1. Amend Section 909(a), Title 3 of the Delaware Code, by adding new subparagraphs (4) and (5) to read as follows:
“(4) For any new District or expansion of a District approved after the effective date of this legislation, the provisions of subparagraph (a)(2)b. of this section shall be replaced by the following restrictions:
a. With respect to the acreage allowed for dwelling housing pursuant to subparagraph (a)(2)a. of this section, there shall be a limit of 3 dwelling houses for residential use placed on the allowable acreage at 3 locations designated by the owner, unless there exists more than 3 dwelling houses on the real property at the time of approval of the new district or expansion of a District, in which case the allowable acreage shall be allocated to the existing dwelling houses and no additional dwelling houses shall be allowed.
b. The dwelling housing utilized pursuant to subparagraph (a)(4)a. above for residential use shall not be restricted to owners, relatives of owners or persons providing permanent and seasonal farm labor services, and any person shall be entitled to use the dwelling housing for residential purposes.
c. The owners of real property in any District or expansion of a District, which District is in existence on the effective date of this legislation, shall be entitled to be released from the restrictions of subparagraph (a)(2)b. of this section, provided such owner executes an amendment to their District Agreement in a form designated and acceptable to the Foundation, subjecting the real property to the restrictions set forth in subsections (a)(1), (a)(2)a., (a)(4)a. and (a)(4)b. of this section. If an owner of real property in any District or expansion of a District has before the effective date of this legislation conveyed a preservation easement to the Foundation, such owner shall be entitled to be released from the restrictions of subparagraph (a)(2)b. as contained in the preservation easement, provided the owner executes an amendment to the preservation easement in a form designated and acceptable to the Foundation subjecting the real property to the restrictions set forth in subsections (a)(1), (a)(2)a., (a)(4)a. and (a)(4)b. of Section 909.
(5) The following uses shall be deemed ‘related uses’ for purposes of Section 909(a)(2):
a. A farm market or roadside stand shall be allowed provided the products offered for sale are grown or produced on the property included within the District and such farm market or roadside stand complies with the provisions of Title 9, Sections 2601(b)(5), 4901(b)(5), or 6902(b)(5).
b. Hayrides, horseback riding, guided tours, barn parties and petting zoos shall be allowed, provided that said activities are limited to no more than fifty (50) persons on the premises at a time.
c. Horse stabling and training and caring for horses is permitted; provided however, quasi-public horse events such as polo fields and horse shows, shall not be permitted.
d. Hunting, trapping, and fishing shall be allowed provided said activities are limited to private non-commercial activities and do not adversely affect the agricultural use of the property.
e. Spray irrigation designed to replenish soil nutrients and improve the quality of the soil is allowed provided that the spray effluent is treated pursuant to the best available treatment technology, is disposed of on property utilized for the production of conventional cash crops, and all storage and treatment of the effluent disposed of on the District property takes place on property other than District property.
f. Easements, licenses and other property interests for utility, telecommunications, and access uses are allowed provided that: (i) the property subject to the easement, license or other property interest is limited to only the area necessary to accommodate the utility, telecommunications or access use, (ii) the area affected by the use is located so as to minimize, to the maximum extent practicable, the impact on farming activities and operations, (iii) no commercial advertising or commercial activities unrelated to the utility, telecommunications or access use shall be conducted on the area of the utility, telecommunications or access use, (iv) any document used to grant an easement, license or other property interest shall limit the activities to utility, telecommunications or access uses and shall contain the prohibitions of commercial advertising or commercial activities unrelated to the permitted use, and (v) the written approval of the Foundation shall be obtained in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Foundation.
g. Farm structures in existence at the time of approval of a District or expansion of a District that are no longer used in farming operations may be used for the enclosed storage of property belonging to others.
h. A restricted landing area utilized for the personal use of the owner is permitted provided that said use does not require any rezoning of the property or conditional use. As used herein, ‘restricted landing area’ means any area of land, water or both which is used for the landing and takeoff of aircraft.
i. A ‘bed and breakfast’ may be operated in any allowed dwelling located on the property.
j. A daycare center for the care of no more than five children under the age of sixteen shall be allowed in any allowed dwelling located on the property.”
Section 2. Amend Section 909(c), Title 3 of the Delaware Code, by deleting said subsection in its entirety and replacing said subsection with the following:
“(c) In event of a purchase of an agricultural lands preservation easement by the Foundation, the restrictions set forth in subsection (a) of this section shall become permanent and subject to release only under Section 917 of this Title, or in the case of the restrictions set forth in subparagraph (a)(2)b. of this Section, under Section 909(a)(4)c. of this Title.”
Approved August 23, 2004