Sunday, June 16, 2024

Dandy Residents File Petition to Prevent Farming in Neighborhood


York Hall
York Hall

Dandy residents are asking the York County Board of Supervisors to rezone their neighborhood from its current designation, which allows some farming activities, to a newly created residential designation applicable to subdivisions.

The new designation, which would prevent commercial farming, was created in June by the supervisors as part of their response to laws passed by the General Assembly early this year that curb the county’s ability to regulate farming activities on certain lands.

Dandy is the second neighborhood to have submitted a petition, following in the footsteps of Seaford’s York Point, where some residents successfully convinced the supervisors to change the area to the new designation ahead of the implementation of one of these laws.

The petition has 133 signatures from Dandy citizens asking the board to “preserve our unique way of life in Dandy.”

The new designation as listed in the county code would “provide opportunities for low density single-family residential development” where properties are “arranged and situated in a relatively compact subdivision setting.”

If the change is approved, 290 properties would be prohibited from establishing farming and underwater farming operations. Beekeeping, chicken keeping and gardening would still be permitted under the new designation.

York County oyster farmer Greg Garrett lives off Dandy Loop. Several homes on Dandy Loop are pictured here. (Gregory Connolly/WYDaily)
Several homes on Dandy Loop are pictured here. (Gregory Connolly/WYDaily)

Dandy is home to Greg Garrett, who, until recently, was battling the county to use part of his land as an oyster farm. He withdrew a special use permit application to operate an oyster farm in August, saying he wanted to focus on his religion and his family instead.

York Point, which was zoned resource conservation, was rezoned about three months after the state law was voted upon. Citizens told the board in June they did not want commercial activity in their neighborhood, listing concerns with effects it could have on property values.

Citizens are racing against the clock as the new farming law taking effect Jan. 1 will prohibit municipalities from requiring special-use permits for farming-related activities on areas zoned for farming.

The law states municipalities may rezone land away from agricultural uses or set performance standards that limit measurable requirements, such as lot size for a farming operation.

It is unclear whether the county’s rural residential designation constitutes a “farming zone,” as the term has not been defined by the General Assembly. A case filed with the York-Poquoson Circuit Court in May seeks to establish that definition.

The Board of Supervisors will review the proposed farming regulations at its Oct. 21 meeting.

Also going before the board Tuesday is a special-use permit application that would allow a Tabb resident to use her property for a few activities connected to her oyster farm.

The supervisors will consider whether to sponsor the amendment to change the zoning during a meeting 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Board Room of York Hall. If they sponsor it, it will go to the York County Planning Commission for a recommendation no later than Oct. 8, and then back to the Board of Supervisors for approval.

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