The Agricultural Business (A-2) zoning established in the Jefferson County zoning ordinance provides for agricultural businesses that are related to the sustainability and productivity of agriculture in Jefferson County. It also provides for a wide variety of other business uses, many of which are unrelated to agriculture. This zoning district allows for 16 principal uses and 61 conditional uses. Many of the uses associated with this zoning are incompatible with the vision of the Town of Concord and are disruptive to nearby rural residential development.
A small portion of the land in the Town of Concord is currently zoned A-2. The Town continues to receive requests from resident landowners to create new A-2 zones for business purposes. Due in part to the location of the town near I-94, there has also been pressure for A-2 business development from non-residents who wish to purchase land in the town and rezone it to A-2 to establish a variety of businesses.
Approval of Rezoning: In Jefferson County, a request to rezone a parcel to A-2 (Agricultural Business) requires the approval of BOTH the Town Board and the County Board of Supervisors; the county is also supposed to establish that the rezoned land is better suited for a use other than agriculture and is consistent with town and county comprehensive plans. Property in any location and any zoning district may request rezoning to A-2. This results in scattered business zoning, often in close proximity to rural residential development. Once a parcel is rezoned, the potential uses of that parcel can change dramatically.
Approval of Conditional Uses: A list of conditional uses exists for each zoning district. A Conditional Use Permit DOES NOT require approval by the town board but is approved only by the 5-member county zoning board. State statutes have made it difficult for the county to refuse a conditional use permit if the use requested is allowed in that zoning district.
This is a concern for the town, as the town has some control over rezoning but NO control over conditional use permits. The town may approve rezoning to A-2 for a use that is rather innocuous, only to have a less desirable conditional use requested and approved in the future. For example: a resident may not mind a neighboring parcel being rezoned for “storage of contractor's equipment” but may not appreciate that parcel later being approved for a “banquet hall.” The problem is compounded by the fact that the list of conditional uses in A-2 zoning is long and varied; many business uses allowed in this zoning have nothing to do with agriculture.
Potential uses of the primary zoning districts in the town are listed below. Note the extensive list of potential conditional uses in A-2 zoning.
A-1 Exclusive Agricultural Zoning:
Principal uses: agricultural, undeveloped natural resource areas, transportation, communication, and utility
Accessory uses: existing farm residence, accessory agricultural structure, stable, small home occupations
Conditional uses requiring a conditional use permit: livestock facilities, home occupations, fur farm, commercial fish raising, bed and breakfast, agriculture-related use, kennel, commercial stable, non-metallic mineral extraction, transportation, communication, pipeline, electrical transmission, utility, drainage, use of more than three semi-trailers or truck boxes to store agricultural equipment, supplies or products
A-2 Agricultural and Rural Business:
Principal uses: agriculture, horticulture, dairying, beekeeping, livestock raising, hatching of fowl, nursery, greenhouse, agricultural stable, truck farm, forest management, game farm, hunt club, roadside stand for products grown on the premises, existing dwelling, livestock (with size limits)
Accessory uses: residential, local utilities
Conditional uses requiring conditional use permit: residences only if residents engage in agriculture; contract sorting, grading, and packaging services for fruits/vegetables; grist mill services; horticultural services; poultry hatchery services; canning of vegetables, fruits, and specialty foods; production of cheese; production of condensed and evaporated milk; wet milling of corn (custom); preparation of feeds for animals and/or fowl; production of flour and other grain mill products; blending and preparing of flour; fluid milk processing; production of frozen fruits, vegetables, and other specialties; meat packing; poultry, fish and small game dressing and packing; livestock sales facilities; grain elevators and bulk storage of feed grains; fertilizer production, sales, storage, mixing and blending; sale of farm implements and related equipment; grain drying above 200,000 bushels/year; trap and skeet shoot, rifle range, motocross course, race track and festival grounds, and clubhouse; waste storage, treatment, and/or disposal; kennel, veterinarian facility, animal hospital; mineral extraction and processing; storage of non-farm equipment; non-local utilities; campgrounds; golf courses; public and semi-public uses; conditional home occupations (those above a certain size); fur farm; salvage yard; retail sales of agricultural-related items not grown on the premises; storage of contractor’s equipment and materials; mini warehousing / personal storage warehousing; bed and breakfast in an existing A-2 zone and existing dwelling; tourist rooming house in an existing A-2 zone and existing dwelling; food stand; commercial stable; agricultural tourism; hunt club/game farm; winery, tasting room, store; farm store; garden center with retail store; recreational facility; recycling operation; landscaping business; antiques store; conference center, banquet hall, event facility; classroom, educational facility, art studio; and more
A-3 Agricultural/Rural Residential Zoning:
Principal uses: single family dwelling, mobile home on foundation, community living arrangements in single family dwelling (8 or fewer occupants)
Accessory uses: residential garage, on-site parking and storage, residential accessory uses, home occupations below a certain size, professional home office, home childcare, household pets, raising/keeping of farm animals (with limits), growing of field groups, roadside stands, local utilities, agricultural stable
Conditional uses requiring a conditional use permit: duplex, non-local utilities, kennel, home occupations, public and semi-public uses, bed and breakfast, tourist rooming house, commercial stable