October 22, 2020
As the Council continues its work on County’s Growth and Infrastructure policy and related impact tax changes, Councilmember Friedson and I have proposed impact tax changes aimed at supporting our burgeoning agritourism industry. This follows my work to support farm alcohol producers, which has helped stimulate a growing sector. You can learn more about the impact tax proposal for agritourism here or below.
To: County Council
From: Councilmembers Riemer and Friedson
Date: October 22, 2020
Re: Transportation impact taxes for agritourism
From farm-to-table, pick-your-own produce, and hands-on educational activities to award-winning wineries and farm breweries, agritourism is a critical and growing component of the County’s rural economy. Agritourism also breathes fresh energy into our efforts to preserve farmland. It does this by supporting the financial viability of County farms and enlisting many more County residents into our farmland preservation efforts by providing them unforgettable experiences of our dynamic agricultural economy and its history.
While the County and the Council, in particular, have historically been strong supporters of agritourism (passing important zoning reforms to agritourism in 2014 and to farm alcohol production in 2018, and establishing the Agritourism Advisory Committee to provide recommendations on how to strengthen the sector), there remains a very large, and sometimes insurmountable, hurdle to opening agritourism businesses: transportation impact taxes. Traditionally, buildings used for agricultural purposes have been exempt from transportation impact taxes because they cause de minimis traffic. However, it has been brought to our attention by the agricultural community, due to certain provisions in the existing impact tax law and building code, agritourism businesses are facing enormous transportation impact tax bills that bear little connection to their actual impact on the transportation system.