[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Elk 10-2-2008 by Ord. No. O-2008-10. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The use of land for agricultural purposes is conducive to the preservation of open space for appropriate residential, commercial and recreational use, as well as agricultural use, and assures a supply of potable water, clean air and a pleasant and healthful environment as well as the aesthetic preservation of the countryside and production of food and agricultural products for this and future generations within Elk Township.
Agricultural enterprise has long been the primary economic base of the Township.
It is self-evident that the comfort, safety, health and general welfare of the residents of the Township and general public will be best served by the protection of land now and hereafter used for agricultural purposes from incompatible encroaching land development and interference by persons not engaged in the occupation of farming.
It is determined that any discomfort or inconvenience to persons not engaged in the occupation of farming resulting from dust, noise, odors, smoke and/or fumes created by farming activities is superseded by the benefits resulting from retaining farm lands and the production of agricultural products in the Township.
It is further determined that it is wise and proper to encourage and protect the use of land for agricultural purposes by ordaining the right to farm all land everywhere in the Township by creation of a Right to Farm Zone encompassing the entire Township.
The Agricultural Advisory Committee shall have as its purposes:
To attract new agriculture-related business, commerce and industry to locate or relocate in the Township.
To encourage growth, expansion and retention of existing agricultural businesses and farms in the Township.
Serve as a conduit for the farming community and local government relating to agriculture and farming practices, development projects and issues.
The Agricultural Advisory Committee shall have the following powers and shall perform the following duties:
Prepare an agricultural development plan. The Committee shall prepare an agricultural development plan for the Township of Elk area which shall consist, at a minimum, of the following:
An evaluation of existing agricultural businesses and farms and their retention and expansion needs.
An assessment of the types of agricultural businesses and farms suitable to the area.
Contacts to be pursued in order to encourage relocation of new agricultural businesses and farms and/or retention and expansion of current agricultural businesses and farms.
Participate in state, county, and local agricultural development planning. Members of the Committee shall attend and participate in meetings and activities involving agricultural planning and development at the state and county level, as well as at the local level, with agricultural business and farm groups. The Committee shall be charged with the responsibility of bringing to the attention of the Township Committee the agricultural development plans and concerns of such groups and, upon motion and at the direction of the Township Committee, shall coordinate joint resolution efforts with such groups. The Committee may recommend to the Township Committee that funds designated for the agricultural development of the Township of Elk be expended in support of such agricultural development efforts.
Advertise for or otherwise solicit agricultural businesses and farms in order to attract interest in relocation to or expansion to the Township.
Assist agricultural businesses in determining required infrastructure and/or other needs.
Report to the Township Committee at least once per quarter on agricultural development activities and issues.
Submit an annual report to the Township Committee in November of each year. By November 30 of each year, the Committee shall submit a detailed written report to the Township Committee, evaluating agricultural development and concerns in the Township during the prior 11 months. The report may include recommendations to the Township Committee for agricultural development efforts in the upcoming year.
It is not intended that nor shall the Committee be a subagency of the Township Committee. The Committee shall possess no aspect of policy- or rule-making authority for the Township. Advice or information from the Committee shall not be binding upon the Township Committee, nor shall any action of the Township Committee be dependent first upon any recommendation or review by the Committee.
The Committee may not incur any debt nor contract for any goods in the name of the Township of Elk or the Township Committee.
Membership. The Agricultural Advisory Committee shall consist of five members and two alternate members, appointed by a majority of the Township Committee. The members shall be residents of the Township of Elk and/or Elk Township landowners who engage in the farming and agriculture business. All members shall be residents of the Township and shall serve without compensation.
Term of office. Members of the Committee shall serve three-year terms, except that, upon the creation of this Committee, in order to create staggered terms, one member shall serve for a one-year term from 2008 through 2009; two members shall serve a two-year term, each from 2008 through 2010; and two members shall serve a full three-year term, each from 2008 through 2011. Alternate members shall serve two-year terms, except that, upon the creation of this Committee, in order to create staggered terms, one alternate member shall serve for a one-year term from 2008 through 2009, and the other alternate member shall serve a two-year term from 2008 through 2010.
Resignation. Any member desiring to resign from the Committee shall submit a resignation in writing to the Township Clerk, who shall present it to the Township Committee for action.
Removal from office. Upon three consecutive, unexcused absences of a member or upon an affirmative vote of 2/3 of the Committee following consideration and discussion of the issue taken in executive session, the Township Committee may, upon recommendation of the Committee, remove such member and appoint a replacement member.
The officers of the Committee shall be as follows: Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Secretary. The officers shall be elected by ballot of Committee members to serve for one year or until their successors are elected and qualified, and their term of office shall begin at the close of the regular January meeting, except the initial officers upon the creation of this Committee.
Regular meetings of the Committee shall be held monthly. Special meetings may be called by the Chairperson or upon the written request of two or more members of the Committee. Each Committee member shall be notified of a meeting at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting, and written notice of each meeting shall be posted at least 24 hours in advance.