The Prigel family owns and operates a farm and creamery in northeasternBaltimoreCounty, in an area that is zoned for Agricultural Preservation. The majority of the land has been placed in an agricultural easement with the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF). The creamery filed for a special exception to permit a Farm Market or Roadside Stand, which would include the construction of a 10,000 square foot building. After testimony and deliberation, the Board concluded that the proposed use is “a small but critical component of the continued operation of one of the last few dairy farms in the county.” The People’s Counsel forBaltimoreCountyfiled motions for reconsideration, but the Board denied the motions.
Appellants argue that the Board erred in granting the special exception for the farm market and the Board erred in granting the request for the roadside stand to the creamery. According to appellants, the County Council explicitly prohibits the sale of dairy products at a farmer’s roadside stand. Additionally, appellants claim that the use intended is commercial and inconsistent with the use of land that is subject to an agricultural easement.
The Prigel’s contend that property owners may request special exceptions for a farm market under the relevant statute. The court found that the creamery satisfied the requirements of zoning ordinance since approximately 95% of the merchandise to be sold would be dairy products acquired from the cows on the farm and therefore qualified as a farm market. Additionally, there was testimony that the proposed parking area satisfied the surface requirement and that the market would not have a detrimental impact on the health, safety, or general welfare of the locality.
Also, the appellants claimed that the creamery did not meet the requirement for a commercial use stating that “[a]ccessory sales area must not exceed 600 sq. ft.” However, in this instance, the accessory sales area is expected to be very small and is not expected to constitute any significant portion of the building. Therefore, the court affirmed judgment of the circuit court in favor of Prigels.
Long Green Valley Association v Prigel Family Creamery, 2012 WL 2483117 (Md 6/29/2012)
The opinion can be accessed at: http://mdcourts.gov/opinions/cosa/2012/0350s11.pdf