During their July 8 meeting, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners approved an amendment to the County’s Unified Development Code (UDC) to allow for qualifying agricultural properties to obtain a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the purpose of agritourism.
“If someone receives this designation, it would be open to anything agriculture. If they want to have a restaurant to serve food grown on their farm, they could do that. If they wanted to have a petting zoo, sell Christmas trees, they could do that. Nothing is off limits as long as it is in the definition of agritourism,” said Forsyth County Manager Kevin Tanner. “This also keeps people from having to come back to the board if their use changes.”
The CUP allows for any property 20 acres or greater, zoned A1, with agricultural activity, to provide agritourism services on that property without having to apply for any additional permits.
“The best way to preserve farmland is to preserve the farmer,” said Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, who attended the meeting to support the amendment. “With this decision, Forsyth County is giving people a good economic opportunity. I think this exhibits leadership, and I hope this measure is followed by other counties in the state, including my own.”
Agritourism is defined in the Forsyth County UDC as the following:
A producer of an agricultural commodity that allows the public to visit the working agricultural operation for the purposes of experiencing, including but not limited to, education, entertainment, relaxation, hospitality, shopping, and dining.
“For the past 20 years, I have seen more and more farms sold and turned into subdivisions,” said Chairwoman and District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills. “This action will give farmers an additional opportunity to generate other means of revenue. It seems like a great win for our county if we can save more of our farms for the future.”
Qualifying residents interested in applying for the CUP to provide agritourism services are encouraged to contact Planning & Community Development Director Tom Brown at TWBrown@forsythco.com for more information.