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Church Seeks Protection for New Farmland

Church Seeks Protection for New Farmland

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is seeking protection from potential complaints as developments go up near some of its new farmland in Utah County.

The church's Farmland Reserve Inc. owns 25,000 acres of farmland in southern Utah County, most of it already under agriculture protection.

But two new properties, one 346 acres and the other 704 acres, still need protection. The church grows crops on the property and has a feedlot.

The county Planning Commission and the county's Agriculture Advisory Board will hear the church's request this week and make recommendations to the county commission, which will hold a public hearing before deciding the issue.

The designation gives farmers protection from noise and odor complaints by neighbors when subdivisions spring up next to their farms, said Jeff Mendenhall, county community development director.

Planning staff has recommended the Planning Commission approve the request, if it finds the property meets certain conditions. The county hasn't received any comments opposing the request.

The Planning Commission will consider whether the land is being used for agriculture, if it's zoned for agriculture uses, existing or proposed farm improvements and trends in agricultural and technological conditions.

The property is zoned for residential and agriculture uses.

The Goshen and Elberta areas are still rural, but developments are getting close.

"There's development coming towards the area," said Walter Tachiki, a Farmland Reserve employee in Elberta. "Property is being sold for development."

State Sen. Bill Wright, R-Elberta, sold his dairy farm to Farmland Reserve this year. The property is one of the two pieces for which the church is seeking protection.

About 75 percent of the crops raised on the church's farm properties go to the church's welfare programs, and the rest is sold.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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