Section 3.2-6400 of the Code of Virginia defines agritourism activity as “any activity carried out on a farm or ranch that allows members of the general public, for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes, to view or enjoy rural activities, including farming, wineries, ranching, historical, cultural, harvest-your-own activities, or natural activities and attractions. An activity is an agritourism activity whether or not the participant paid to participate in the activity.” The Code goes on to address local regulation of agritourism activities in Section 15.2-2288.6 and states that no locality is allowed to regulate agritourism activities unless there is a substantial impact on the health, safety, or general welfare. However, the Code of Virginia does not identify any criteria by which to measure those impacts. Therefore, the Zoning Administrator has had to determine on a case-by-case basis whether such activity has a substantial impact on the health, safety, or general welfare of the public. Setting thresholds in the Zoning Ordinance will provide a predictable and consistent path for future agritourism activities in Fairfax County.
This amendment proposes to explicitly list, and define, agritourism as a permitted accessory use to agriculture while establishing use limitations that address concerns surrounding the health, safety and general welfare of the community. The following activities, and similar uses as determined by the Zoning Administrator, are under consideration to be permitted as an agritourism use in conjunction with an agriculture operation: