§ 160D-903. Agricultural uses.
(a) Bona Fide Farming Exempt From County Zoning. - County zoning regulations may not affect property used for bona fide farm purposes; provided, however, that this section does not limit zoning regulation with respect to the use of farm property for nonfarm purposes. Except as provided in G.S. 106-743.4 for farms that are subject to a conservation agreement under G.S. 106-743.2, bona fide farm purposes include the production and activities relating or incidental to the production of crops, grains, fruits, vegetables, ornamental and flowering plants, dairy, livestock, poultry, and all other forms of agriculture, as defined in G.S. 106-581.1. Activities incident to the farm include existing or new residences constructed to the applicable residential building code situated on the farm occupied by the owner, lessee, or operator of the farm and other buildings or structures sheltering or supporting the farm use and operation. A building or structure that is used solely for storage of cotton, peanuts, or sweetpotatoes, or any byproduct of those commodities, is a bona fide farm purpose, including a building or structure on a property that does not have the documentation listed in subdivisions (1) through (4) of this subsection. For purposes of this section, "when performed on the farm" in G.S. 106-581.1(6) includes the farm within the jurisdiction of the county and any other farm owned or leased to or from others by the bona fide farm operator, no matter where located. For purposes of this section, the production of a nonfarm product that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recognizes as a "Goodness Grows in North Carolina" product that is produced on a farm subject to a conservation agreement under G.S. 106-743.2 is a bona fide farm purpose. For purposes of determining whether a property is being used for bona fide farm purposes, any of the following is sufficient evidence that the property is being used for bona fide farm purposes, but other evidence may also be considered:
(1) A farm sales tax exemption certificate issued by the Department of Revenue.
(2) A copy of the property tax listing showing that the property is eligible for participation in the present-use value program pursuant to G.S. 105-277.3.
(3) A copy of the farm owner's or operator's Schedule F from the owner's or operator's most recent federal income tax return.
(4) A forest management plan.
A building or structure that is used for agritourism is a bona fide farm purpose if the building or structure is located on a property that (i) is owned by a person who holds a qualifying farm sales tax exemption certificate from the Department of Revenue pursuant to G.S. 105-164.13E(a) or (ii) is enrolled in the present-use value program pursuant to G.S. 105-277.3. Failure to maintain the requirements of this subsection for a period of three years after the date the building or structure was originally classified as a bona fide farm purpose pursuant to this subsection subjects the building or structure to applicable zoning and development regulation ordinances adopted by a county pursuant to G.S. 160D-702 in effect on the date the property no longer meets the requirements of this subsection. For purposes of this section, "agritourism" means 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, ranching, historic, cultural, harvest-your-own activities, hunting, fishing, equestrian activities, or natural activities and attractions. A building or structure used for agritourism includes any building or structure used for public or private events, including, but not limited to, weddings, receptions, meetings, demonstrations of farm activities, meals, and other events that are taking place on the farm because of its farm or rural setting.
(b) County Zoning of Residential Uses on Large Lots in Agricultural Districts. - A county zoning regulation shall not prohibit single-family detached residential uses constructed in accordance with the North Carolina State Building Code on lots greater than 10 acres in size and in zoning districts where more than fifty percent (50%) of the land is in use for agricultural or silvicultural purposes, except that this restriction does not apply to commercial or industrial districts where a broad variety of commercial or industrial uses are permissible. A zoning regulation shall not require that a lot greater than 10 acres in size have frontage on a public road or county-approved private road or be served by public water or sewer lines in order to be developed for single-family residential purposes.
(c) Agricultural Areas in Municipal Extraterritorial Jurisdiction. - Property that is located in a city's extraterritorial planning and development regulation jurisdiction and that is used for bona fide farm purposes is exempt from the city's zoning regulation to the same extent bona fide farming activities are exempt from county zoning pursuant to this section. As used in this subsection, "property" means a single tract of property or an identifiable portion of a single tract. Property that ceases to be used for bona fide farm purposes becomes subject to exercise of the city's extraterritorial planning and development regulation jurisdiction under this Chapter. For purposes of complying with State or federal law, property that is exempt from municipal zoning pursuant to this subsection is subject to the county's floodplain regulation or all floodplain regulation provisions of the county's unified development ordinance.
(d) Accessory Farm Buildings. - A city may provide in its zoning regulation that an accessory building of a "bona fide farm" has the same exemption from the building code as it would have under county zoning.
(e) City Regulations in Voluntary Agricultural Districts. - A city may amend the development regulations applicable within its planning and development regulation jurisdiction to provide flexibility to farming operations that are located within a city or county, voluntary agricultural district, or enhanced voluntary agricultural district adopted under Article 61 of Chapter 106 of the General Statutes. Amendments to applicable development regulations may include provisions regarding on-farm sales, pick-your-own operations, road signs, agritourism, and other activities incident to farming. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, ss. 22, 51(a), (b), (d); 2020-74, s. 20; 2022-55, s. 2.)