FARMINGTON -- Two separate petition requests to place more than 400 acres of unincorporated county farmland into an agricultural protection zone were heard Tuesday by the Davis County Commission.
The commission is expected to rule on the petition requests within a few weeks.
The agricultural protection zone is to protect farms by protecting farmers from nuisance complaints that might arise from encroaching development, Davis County Planner Scott A. Hess said.
Essentially the zone says, "the farm was there first," he said.
One request takes in 446 acres of farmland in the west Syracuse area, with 395 acres of that total in the unincorporated area. The farmland, owned by North Davis Sewer District, serves as a buffer between residences and the district's sewer treatment plant at 4252 W. 2200 South in Syracuse, Hess said.
The county also received a petition to place the Roberts farm in the west Layton area in an agriculture protection zone. That farm, at 891 W. Weaver Lane in the unincorporated area of the county, comprises
16.6 acres, Hess said.
Placing the properties in the zone will protect the farmers from having nuisance noise and odor complaints lodged against them by surrounding neighbors.
Tyson Roberts, a sixth-generation farmer, said farmers need the protection the zone affords them.
"I farm the land, the 15 acres my father (Dix Roberts) owns," Roberts told the commission at the hearing. "My roots are deep in agriculture."
Roberts said that, as part of the creation of the zone, he is willing to work with Layton officials who plan to put an easement and walking trail through the property.
"We're not opposed to working with the city and county on the trail system," he said.
Layton City Planning Specialist Scott Carter, who was at the hearing, said Layton city staff support the creation of the agricultural protection zone for Roberts and are willing to work with the family so the trail does not affect their ability to raise their crop.
The only other people to speak at the hearing were Syracuse residents Rusty Eskelsen and Kyle Hill, who both had concerns with the sewer treatment plant being placed within such a zone.
"I think we are giving the sewer plant a lot of leeway if we allow them (the treatment plant) in that (zone)," Eskelsen said.
Hill said an agricultural zone was created to protect the farmer, not a government facility.
Hess assured both men neither the treatment plant nor the district offices would be part of the zone if approved, and as farmland is sold off or developed by the district, those parcels would be removed from the zone.
Before the commission makes its decision, Hess said, he will review each of the parcels surrounding the sewer treatment plant to ensure they are working farm properties.
The last time the commission placed a property in an agricultural protection zone was last June, when it granted the creation of such a zone for the Florence Allen farm, a 16-acre farm just outside the West Point city border, Hess said.
Before the Allen action, it had been six years since the county had placed property in an agricultural protection zone.