[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Readington 10-15-2007 by Ord. No. 35-2007. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Land development — See Ch. 148.
There is hereby formally established in and for the Township of Readington an Agricultural Advisory Committee to serve as an advisory committee to the Township Committee for the purpose of discussion of matters of interest to the farming community, current and pending Township ordinances affecting the farming community, farmland preservation planning and other issues of interest to the farming community which will have an impact upon the Township as a whole; to provide opportunities to preserve farming as a viable industry within the Township and to preserve the Township's rural character by lessening pressure on landowners to sell farmland for development and to keep nonthreatened farmland in active production.
The Agricultural Advisory Committee shall meet no fewer than four occasions per year or as needed for the following purposes:
To assist the Township Committee in carrying out its duties and responsibilities by informing it of developments in the farming community that should be considered when using municipal regulatory and land use powers.
To assist the Township Committee in the development of ordinances by reviewing them for impacts upon the farming community, including any ordinances which might affect land use in the Township's Agricultural Development Area (ADA).
To assist the Planning Board in the development for adoption of a farmland preservation plan element pursuant to paragraph 13 of section 19 of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-28b(13) and/or an agriculture retention plan. The plan shall include at a minimum:
An inventory of farm properties in the entire municipality and a map illustrating what the community considers significant areas of agricultural land.
A detailed statement showing the municipal plans and ordinances such as a right to farm ordinance and other agricultural viability ordinances that support and promote agriculture as a business.
A plan for preserving as much farmland as possible in the short term by leveraging monies made available by the Garden State Preservation Trust Act, N.J.S.A. 13:8C-1 et seq., or other farmland preservation funding programs through a variety of mechanisms outlined in N.J.A.C. 2:76-17.6(a)3.
A statement of farming trends, characterizing the type(s) of agricultural production in the municipality.
A discussion of plans to enhance the agricultural industry in the municipality.
To assist, through consultation, the Planning Board and the Township Committee in adjustments and amendments to the Farmland Preservation and/or Agricultural Retention Master Plan Element and the list of farms to be included in the easement purchase acquisition program.
To assist the Planning Board in developing and considering amendments developed through master plan reexamination and any other changes that would affect the viability of farms located within the Township's Agricultural Development Areas (ADAs).
To provide educational opportunities for residents to learn about the history of farming in Readington Township, how to support the local farming community and how to become involved in the agricultural industry. This could include development of farm tours to promote the preservation of farms and public education about farming operations.
To provide information to the Township's Open Space Committee about farmland preservation opportunities in Readington Township.
To review and recommend any changes to the Township's Agricultural Development Areas (ADAs) to the Planning Board and to the Hunterdon County Agricultural Development Board (HCADB).
The Agricultural Advisory Committee shall meet with the Township Committee at least once a year to report on its activities and discussions and provide the Committee with a summary of the issues it has discussed and the positions it believes should be advanced on behalf of the farming community as a whole in the municipality.
The Readington Township Agricultural Advisory Committee shall consist of three residents of the Township. In addition, a majority of the members must be actively engaged in farming in the Township and own a portion of the land they farm.
Representatives shall be appointed from the various scales of farming and commodities existing in the community to facilitate a broad spectrum of response and to maintain its knowledge about the ever-changing practices of the agricultural industry.
Members shall be appointed by the Mayor and approved by the remainder of the Township governing body. Initial appointments to the Agricultural Advisory Committee organized as a result of this chapter shall be for one one-year term, one two-year term and one three-year term. Thereafter, each member shall serve a term of three years. The Agricultural Advisory Committee shall choose a Chairman who shall serve as a liaison between the Agricultural Advisory Committee and the Township Committee and Planning Board. The Chairman shall keep notes of the meeting which shall be deemed to be the property of the Township. The Chairman shall serve as the spokesperson for the Agricultural Advisory Committee in discussions with the Township Committee and the Planning Board.
Members must comply with N.J.A.C. 2:76-6.18(z) and any other similar regulations in effect now or in the future with respect to ethics requirements, including adopting a Code of Ethics and adherence to the prohibition against members of the Township Agricultural Advisory Committee or their immediate families selling or applying to sell their property in fee simple title pursuant to the Agriculture Retention and Development Act, N.J.S.A. 4:1C-11 et seq., and the Garden State Preservation Trust Act, N.J.S.A. 13:8C-1 et seq. According to such regulations "member of the immediate family" means the member's spouse, child, parent or sibling residing in the same household. Any Code of Ethics shall be subject to the prior approval of the Township Committee.
A vacancy occurring other than by expiration of a term shall be filled by the Township Committee for the unexpired term only.
The members shall serve without compensation except that they shall be reimbursed for expenses incurred in the performance of official business.
All meetings shall comply with the Open Public Meetings Act (N.J.S.A. 10:4-7 et seq.).