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Skagit County is reviewing what agritourism means to the County’s agricultural community, rural residents, and other stakeholders. Skagit County will explore and analyze agritourism activities in Skagit County to develop a report on the economics of agritourism, a current assessment of County policies, and relevant case studies. The study is anticipated to address the current situation with farm stands and value added activities, agricultural recreation, and options for other types of agritourism, such as potentially allowing food service on farms, wedding venues, temporary event spaces, etc.

Based on feedback from research and policy proposals from County staff, a legislative proposal will be developed for consideration by the Skagit County Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners. This process will allow the County to propose amendments to the Comprehensive Plan, zoning map, and development regulations, with input from the public and stakeholders, to address agritourism.

 

Skagit County contracted with BERK Consulting to assist with the agritourism study. The situation assessment phase is part of a discovery phase to document current agricultural trends and conditions in Skagit County. County staff evaluated current practices for agritourism activites and contrasted them with case studies from other jurisdictions. Staff also conducted local discussion groups and released a public engagement survey to develop a common understanding of agritourism and the public interest in the direction of the study overall.  The Situation Assessment Report was released in September 2021 and was shared with local stakeholders, such as producers, businesses, and local residents.

 

After the situation assessment report was released, staff evaluated public response and developed three policy options the County could pursue for agritourism activities. These three options were released in a report in March 2022, with details on which activities would be allowed under each option and the benefits and drawbacks of each policy proposal. Staff hosted multiple public workshops to hear feedback from the public on the three options and released a second survey for additional comments. The public engagement and survey responses were compiled into a report, which was published in June 2022.

 

Staff used public input and survey results to develop a preferred policy option and create code language for the Planning Commission to evaluate over the summer. The Planning Commission will host a public hearing in July 2022 to hear additional feedback on the code language, then they will vote on a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners. Once the recommendation has been finalized, the County Commissioners will review the recommendation and staff analysis to decide on final action for agritourism.

To stay up to date on the agritourism study, sign up for updates from the Skagit County Planning & Development Services Department here:

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The Skagit County Planning Commission meets every other Tuesday at 6:00 PM PST. For additional information on participating in a planning commission meeting, please visit: Commenting in a Meeting.

For more information, please contact Jenn Rogers at jrogers@co.skagit.wa.us