Fostering Rural Tourism

DATE: August 9, 2000 
TO: Board of Supervisors 
SUBJECT: Fostering Rural Tourism

SUMMARY: 
Across America and in Europe, it has become increasingly popular for urban residents to vacation on farms. In most cases, the guest occupies a small detached unit on a working farm or stays in a room in the farmhouse. This fosters rural tourism, which remains important to the San Diego region, while, at the same time, allowing local farmers to supplement their incomes.

Potential impacts to neighboring properties can be controlled and prevented through the use of a Minor Use Permit and by limiting the number of guests who can stay overnight. While the County of San Diego allows campgrounds and resorts on agricultural properties zoned A70 and A72, and also permits rental housing on these properties, currently, the County prohibits limited guest lodging. Amending the Zoning Ordinance to allow this kind of temporary lodging with a Minor Use Permit would give the family farm an additional source of revenue, while providing visitors to the backcountry with an opportunity to experience farm life and enjoy rural tranquility. Recommendation: Chairwoman Jacob Direct the Chief Administrative Officer to consult with local community planning groups and return to the Board of Supervisors in 120 days with amendments to the Zoning Ordinance that allow guest lodging in the A70 and A72 agricultural zones with a Minor Use Permit.

Recommendation: Chairwoman Jacob
Direct the Chief Administrative Officer to return to the Board of Supervisors in 30 days with an ordinance that provides the following:

Fiscal Impact
None

BACKGROUND:
Across America and in Europe, it has become increasingly popular for urban residents to vacation on farms. In most cases, the guest occupies a small detached unit on a working farm or stays in a room in the farmhouse. This fosters rural tourism, which remains important to the San Diego region, while, at the same time, allowing local farmers to supplement their incomes.

Potential impacts to neighboring properties can be controlled and prevented through the use of a Minor Use Permit and by limiting the number of guests who can stay overnight. While the County of San Diego allows campgrounds and resorts on agricultural properties zoned A70 and A72, and also permits rental housing on these properties, currently, the County prohibits limited guest lodging. Amending the Zoning Ordinance to allow this kind of temporary lodging with a Minor Use Permit would give the family farm an additional source of revenue, while providing visitors to the backcountry with an opportunity to experience farm life and enjoy rural tranquility. Adopting this recommendation will foster tourism in the County's rural areas and provide another source of income to family farmers. I urge your support.

Respectfully submitted,

DIANNE JACOB
Chairwoman