Summary Of Steps When Forming An Ag Area

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    Questings

    ​​​Owner(s) of at least 350 acres (100 acres in counties with a population of 600,000 or more) submits a petition to the County Board.

    The petition includes:

    • Description of the proposed area (including the affected acreage).
    • Boundary description.

    County Board may appoint an Ag Areas Committee.

    • Membership.
      1. 4 active farmers, but no more than 2 can be of same political party.
      2. 1 County Board member.
    • Pay.
      1. None.
      2. County Board can reimburse them for their expenses.
    • Purpose - Advise the County Board about:
      1. Desirability of forming, modifying, or terminating an Ag Area.
      2. Nature of farming and farm resources within a proposed Ag Area.
      3. Relation of farming in the proposed Ag Area to the county as a whole.

    County Board considers the formation of the Ag Area.

    • Publishes notice of proposed Ag Area:
      1. The notice is published in a local area newspaper, or in countywide newspaper, and in 5 conspicuous places within the proposed Ag Area.
      2. The County Board must receive comments from affected landowners within 30 days following the publishing of the proposed Ag Area.
    • Sends copy of notice to county or regional planning commission.
      1. For their review and comment.
      2. Agency has 30 days to review and provide comments to the County Board.
    • Things the County Board considers.
      1. Viability of the proposed area for farming, and viability of adjoining land for farming.
      2. Nature and extent of land uses other than active farming within the proposed area and the properties adjacent to it.
      3. County development plans, patterns, and needs.
      4. The existence of conservation plans approved by the County's Soil and Water Conservation District on land in the proposed Ag Area.
    • Notifies municipal authorities of proposed Ag Area formation, if any of the area falls within 1.5 miles of the municipal boundaries.
      1. Municipal authorities may object to the proposed area within 30 days and that area can be excluded from the Ag Area.
    • Submits proposals for modifying the Ag Area to the Ag Area Committee.
      1. This is done at the end of the 30 day review period which began after the petition was submitted to the County Board.
      2. Ag Area Committee has 45 days to report its recommendations to the County Board.
    • Holds a public hearing.
      1. Held by the Ag Area committee during their 45 day review period.
      2. Must be held at a place within the proposed area or a place readily accessible to the proposed area.
    • Notice of hearing shall give following information:
      1. Time, date, place of public hearing.
      2. Description of originally proposed area and any proposed additions, modifications or recommendations.
      3. Statement on what lands the hearing is considering.
      4. Notice must be published in area newspaper or in countywide newspaper and sent to persons owning land proposed for inclusion in the Ag Area.
    • Adopts the Ag Area.
      1. County Board may adopt the proposed Ag Area or any modification of it after receiving reports of the Ag Area Committee, comments generated at the public hearing, county or regional planning commission comments, and miscellaneous other comments.
      2. County Boards has 45 days to adopt or reject the Ag Area from the date that the county committee's recommendations on the proposal was submitted to it.
    • Files description of Ag Area with the County Clerk and Recorder of Deeds after County Board's adoption.
    • Notifies the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) of the adoption or rejection of the proposal and provides the IDOA with a description of the Ag Area (and a plat map with delineated boundaries) within 45 days of taking such action.

    Withdrawal of land from an Ag Area

    • Any person may petition the County board requesting land be withdrawn from the Ag Area. Petition must:
      1. Include a statement indicating the proposed alternative land use.
      2. Explain the necessity for changing the current use.
      3. Explain why land outside the Ag Area is not suitable for the proposed use.
    • County Board considers petition for withdrawal. The County Board must:
      1. Provide public notice of withdrawal petition within 5 days of petition receipt.
      2. Publish notice of withdrawal request.
      3. The notice is published in a local area newspaper, or in countywide newspaper, and in 5 conspicuous places within the proposed area.
    • Refer the withdrawal petition to county/regional planning commission within 5 days of petition receipt.
      1. Planning commission has 30 days to give its recommendation to the County Board concerning potential effects of withdrawal.
    • Refer the withdrawal petition to the ag area committee within 5 days of petition receipt.
      1. Ag Area Committee has 30 days to give its recommendation to the County Board concerning potential effects of withdrawal.
    • Hold a public hearing within 60 days of receipt of withdrawal petition.
      1. Ag Area Committee holds the hearing.
      2. Hearing is held at a readily accessible location for the public in the area of the affected land.
      3. County Board provides written notice of the hearing in newspaper of general circulation in the Ag Area or in the county, not less than 7 days before the hearing. Such notice shall also be given in writing to the owners of land in or immediately adjacent to the Ag Area.
    • Accept or reject the withdrawal petition.
      1. County Board has 90 days after receiving the withdrawal petition to accept or reject the petition in a written decision.
      2. Any person adversely affected by a decision of the County Board may obtain judicial review by filing a petition for review within 35 days after the decision.
    • Notify the IDOA whenever.
      1. Any land withdrawn from an Ag Area.
      2. Notification must be made within 45 days of such action.

    Adding of land to an Ag Area

    • A proposal for adding any amount of land to an existing Ag Area must be submitted to the County Board.

    • The County Board submits the proposal to the Ag Area Committee within 10 days of receipt of the proposal.

    • Ag Area Committee has 45 days to review the proposed additions and to recommend to the County Board approval, disapproval, or modification to the proposal.

    • Upon receipt of the Ag Area Committee's recommendation, the County Board has 30 days to act.

    • The County Board must notify the IDOA of any addition of land to a designated Ag Area within 45 days of taking such action.

    Review of Ag Area by County Board

    • Time Frames.
      1. Review occurs at the end of the Ag Area's first 10 years, and
      2. Every 8 years thereafter.
    • County Board shall ask for recommendations of the Ag Areas Committee and will ask the Ag​ Areas committee to hold a public hearing at least 120 days prior to the Ag Area's anniversary creation date. See Section 3.F for guidelines on conducting the public hearing.
    • Alterations or terminations.
      1. County Board can alter or terminate the Ag Area at the end of the 10 or 8 year anniversary dates.
      2. County Board must file notice with the County Clerk of action taken if Ag Area is changed or dissolved.
      3. County Board must notify the Illinois Department of Agriculture of any Ag Area alterations or terminations within 45 days of taking such action.
      4. If the County Board doesn't act, the Ag Area shall continue as originally organized.

    Dissolution of Ag Area by landowners.

    • Landowners may petition the County board to dissolve the Ag Area 10 years after its creation date.

    • Petition must be submitted in writing to the County Board during the 120-day period immediately prior to the ten-year anniversary of the Ag Area's creation date.

    • Requires 2/3 of the landowners' (or their heirs, representatives, etc.) signatures to dissolve the Ag Area.