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, prior to this amendment, the Zoning Administrator 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. The establishment of these provisions in the Zoning Ordinance create a more predictable and consistent path for future agritourism activities in Fairfax County for not only agritourism providers but the surrounding community as well.
This amendment explicitly lists types of agritourism activities in the definition of agritourism while establishing standards, including a tiered system based on associated acreage ranges and total number of attendees per day, that address concerns surrounding the health, safety and general welfare. The following activities are included in the definition of agritourism: