[HISTORY: Adopted by the Laws of 1997, ch. 38. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Right to farm — See Ch. 127.
Subject to Subsection (C) of this section, the County Commissioners may adopt an ordinance to protect a person's right to farm or to engage in agricultural or forestry operations.
In adopting an ordinance under this section, the County Commissioners may:
Define the terms "agricultural or forestry operations", "generally accepted agricultural or forestry practices", and any other terms necessary to carry out the provisions of this section;
Provide that a private action may not be maintained with respect to an agricultural or forestry operation on the grounds that the operation interferes or has interfered with the use or enjoyment of property, whether public or private, if, at the time the interference is alleged to arise:
The agricultural or forestry operation, including any change in the operation, has been under way for a period of 1 year or more and if the operation or the change did not constitute a nuisance from the date the operation began or the date the change in the operation began; and
The agricultural or forestry operation is conducted substantially in accordance with generally accepted agricultural or forestry practices;
Establish a grievance committee to arbitrate disputes involving agricultural or forestry operations and whether agricultural or forestry operations are conducted in a manner consistent with generally accepted agricultural or forestry practices;
Require a person claiming a nuisance as a result of agricultural or forestry operations to arbitrate the claim before the grievance committee before maintaining a private action in court;
Provide that if the grievance committee finds that the conduct of a person claiming a nuisance as a result of agricultural or forestry operations was in bad faith or without substantial justification, the grievance committee shall require the person claiming the nuisance to pay the person against whom the complaint was made the costs of the arbitration proceeding and the reasonable expenses, including reasonable attorney fees, incurred by the person against whom the complaint was made in defending against the claim;
Require a transferor of real property to provide to the transferee notice advising the transferee of the Dorchester County right to farm ordinance; and
Include any other measure the County Commissioners find necessary to protect agricultural or forestry operations in Dorchester County.
Before adopting an ordinance under this section, the County Commissioners shall hold a public hearing and shall provide reasonable notice of the hearing.