San Mateo County Looks At Zoning Regulations For Pumpkin Farms

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HALF MOON BAY (KCBS) – Some pumpkin farm operators in San Mateo County are hoping their plans aren’t squashed as they prepare for the Halloween season.

Arata Pumpkin Farm in Half Moon Bay features a hay-bale maze, cornfield and pumpkins along with a haunted barn. And operator Chris Gounalakis wants to keep the activities going as San Mateo County Supervisors debate whether to change farmland zoning to allow farmers to take advantage of the growing agritourism business.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

“I want visitors to tell them (supervisors) exactly what experiences they have enjoyed at the farm,” said Gounalakis.

At issue for the farms is agritourism guidelines and the Williamson Act, which provides property tax relief to owners of farmland and open-space land in exchange that they agree not to develop or convert the land for other use.

BJ Burns with the San Mateo County Farm Bureau takes issue with the farm falling under the Williamson Act as it has since the 1960’s.

“Cancel the contract and then deal with the permits that will let you do the things that he wants to do,” said Burns.

San Mateo County Supervisors are expected to take up the issue on September 11 and a decision could set a precedent for other farms in the area.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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