More farm stands, hayrides and breweries could be on the horizon for Prince William County.
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors approved an “agriculture and arts overlay district” Tuesday night that allows more agritourism uses in the county’s agricultural areas aimed at stimulating the local economy.
The district will allow a wide range of by-right uses for agriculture-zoned property over 2 acres within the county’s designated rural area, and any agricultural-zoned property over 20 acres in the development area.
New uses for eligible agricultural properties include retail space for selling agricultural-related products, breweries, distilleries, wineries, weddings, special events and hayrides. It also allows arts-related uses like art galleries, culinary classes, jewelry-making, flower shops, bakeries and photography studios.
Prince William County planner Alex Stanley told the board the county has heard from eligible landowners who support
the district, some of whom already have plans to take advantage of the new by-right opportunities.
“We’ve had outreach from community members who own this land that want to find a way to better support their families and their land,” Stanley said.
The move was supported by the Prince William County Farm Bureau. Helen Taylor, president of the Prince William County Farm Bureau, said that the district would give “some structure to the permissible ventures that farms may expand into.”
James Yankee, owner and operator of Yankee Farms in Nokesville, spoke in support of the district as well. Yankee is also a member of Nokesville Farm Stand Owners United, a group of eight Nokesville farm stands.
“This is something that will really help those of us in the agritourism business. Our agritourism business has allowed us to grow our farming operation right here in Prince William County,” Yankee said.
The overlay district received the full support of the board Tuesday evening, except for Supervisor Pete Candland, R-Gainesville, who was absent from the meeting. The planning commission recommended approval of the new overlay district in January.
“I believe this is going to be a boon for our local economy while helping to preserve our rural area and everything that makes it unique and beautiful,” said Yesli Vega, R-Coles.
At-large Chair Ann Wheeler and Supervisor Kenny Boddye, D-Occoquan, also proposed adding new county staffing positions during this year’s budget cycle that would specialize in rural and agricultural development to aid the county’s agritourism efforts.
“This is a real step forward in ensuring that we have the flexibility for folks to seek agritourism and agribusiness,” Boddye said.
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