2015 - Statewide Victory

Preserving farmland and protecting shoreland

Shoreland zoning was created to protect water quality. A 2013 court case created confusion about whether other town ordinances – such as farmland zoning ordinances – could apply in areas where county shoreland zoning is in effect.

With agricultural land under pressure from encroaching development, farmland zoning through the Farmland Preservation Program is an important tool for rural economic development. AB 165 clarifies that town zoning ordinances such as farmland zoning may continue to apply in shoreland areas, as long as the ordinance does not impose regulations that conflict with county shoreland zoning ordinances. AB 165 passed with bipartisan support and was signed into law as Act 41 on July 1, 2015.