2021 | Government

County approves change to help agritourism

Businesses will be exempt from some fees

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The Montgomery County Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a change to make it easier to start breweries, wineries, vineyards, orchards and similar businesses.

The proposal allows those businesses to avoid paying a $2,000 plat recording fee before they get a building permit. The exemption would apply to many agricultural-zoned areas of the county.

It could lead to even more savings for businesses that often have to hire land surveyors, civil engineers, and other land-use experts before they can open, council staff members previously said. 

The entire council signed on to an amendment that widened the change to apply to include businesses on unplatted parcels in any zone “used for Farm Alcohol Production or for Accessory Agricultural Education and Tourism.”

County Council President Tom Hucker introduced the proposal on behalf of County Executive Marc Elrich.

Elrich said the change would help spur economic development, especially in the county’s ag reserve in the northern part of the county.

“By exempting agritourism uses from the subdivision requirement, this proposed subdivision regulation amendment will encourage agritourism uses in Montgomery County, which in turn will expand the County’s economy,” Elrich wrote in a memo to the council.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@bethesdamagazine.com