Zoning, agriculture and minimum acreage
The question from a local official at a recent zoning workshop was "...doesn't a landowner need a certain amount of property to be considered agricultural for zoning purposes?" and the answer is quite simple: no. He was asking the question because Ohio law doesn't allow counties and townships to use their zoning authority to prohibit agricultural land uses, except in a few limited circumstances such as platted subdivision situations. But the law doesn't require a minimum amount of acreage to qualify the land as "agriculture"--any amount of land can be deemed agricultural as long as the use itself fits within the definition of agriculture provided by the zoning statute. And if the land use is within the definition of agriculture, then zoning can't prohibit it unless an exception applies. The confusion over this issue is understandable; I believe it originates with requirements for the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) tax assessment program. CAUV participation requires a minimum of ten acres devoted to agricultural use, but less than ten acres will qualify for CAUV if the land is devoted to agricultural use and provided at least $2500 in average gross income over the prior three years. Whether or not land meets the CAUV acreage requirement, the land use can still be agricultural for zoning purposes if it fits within the definition of agriculture. For more on Ohio's rural zoning laws, visit our website's zoning library at http://aede.ag.ohio-state.edu/programs/aglaw/zoning_law.htm.