We want your opinions

November 06, 2005

ISSUE:

County officials are weighing whether to require building permits for farm buildings that are used for public purposes.

A task force of farmers, county officials and other agriculture leaders, is reviewing a section of the code that pertains to agriculture buildings.

In 1999, county zoning regulations were expanded to promote agricultural economic development and to allow agricultural tourism, encouraging the public to visit working farms. County permit and licensing officials, however, say they are concerned about the health and safety of visitors to farms. Many in the agricultural community say the cost of bringing old barns up to modern building codes might be prohibitive and lead to the extinction of traditional activities such as field trips by school groups.

A majority report by the task force recently recommended against requiring building permits, while a minority report called for such permitting. The County Council is expected to adopt any changes to county building codes by the end of year.

YOUR VIEW:

Should farm buildings used for public purposes be required to have building permits? Tell us what you think. Send e-mail responses by Thursday to harford.speakout@balt sun.com. A selection of responses will be published next Sunday. Please keep your responses short and include your name, address and telephone number. Addresses and phone numbers will not be published.

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