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Starting an Agritourism Business

This page contains information on starting an agritourism business in Douglas County, Kansas.

Agritourism is recognized as a vital tool for sustaining the family farm and represents significant economic potential for the community in general.

“These Regulations are intended to foster and promote Agritourism in Douglas County, in keeping with the State of Kansas policy of encouraging Agritourism, while ensuring the public health, safety and welfare is protected." (Section 12-319-7 Zoning Regulations)

The regulations do not apply to agricultural purposes. (Per K.S.A. 12- 758 and Douglas County Zoning Regulation Section 12-304-6.01, land used for agricultural purposes and buildings used exclusively for agricultural purposes are exempt from County Zoning Regulations.)

For instance: a U-Pick berry patch on a 40 acre farm, with the sale of no ancillary products that are not agriculturally produced on site, would be considered an agricultural use. If the U-Pick berry patch decided to also sell planting pots and t-shirts, the use would be considered “retail” rather than Ag. The Kansas courts have decided a wide variety of cases involving whether a particular use was or was not an agricultural purpose. The Zoning and Codes office (785-331-1343) can assist in making the determination as to whether the proposed use is considered Agriculture.

Where does your use fit? Determine if you a Tier 1 or a Tier 2.

Tier 1 (low intensity) - Can be registered administratively.

If your use meets the criteria below:

  • The use is on a parcel, or one of a number of contiguous parcels as agricultural land uses or a working farm or ranch.
  • The Agritourism operator lives on the property.
  • Size limitation: no more than 25 parking spaces, no more than 3 guestrooms for Bed and Breakfast or a Farm Stay, no more than 10 vendors for Farmer's market.
  • No motors or motorized vehicles (except agricultural machinery and vehicles) to be utilized for the use.
  • Activities occur in daylight hours.
  • No noise amplification (except for radios or stereos.)
  • Agritourism Operator is the property owner or operator or their family and employees (whether paid or volunteer).

Tier 2 (medium intensity) – Registration requires County Commission approval.

If your use meets the criteria, it is a Tier 2 use:

  • Size limitations: up to 100 parking spaces, more than 3 guestrooms for bed and breakfast or farm stay, more than 10 vendors for Farmer’s market.
  • No motors or motorized vehicles (except agricultural machinery and vehicles) to be utilized for the use.
  • No noise amplification (except for radios or stereos)
  • Agritourism operator is the property owner or operator or their family and employees (whether paid or volunteer)

The next step is to register your agritourism business with the State of Kansas.  You can visit  the Kansas Agritourism website to register your business.  You will need to follow the State's requirements. Upon approval, they will send you confirmation and a certificate.  Bring the information to the Zoning & Codes Department to apply for the County's agritourism licensing.

If your answer is Yes: Provide State registration, site plan and other information regarding your use to the Zoning and Codes office. Tier 1 will be administratively approved. Tier 2 will require public notification and placed on County Commissioner’s Meeting Agenda.

If your answer is No: Contact the Zoning and Codes office to determine if your use is permitted with Conditional Use Permit (CUP), Special Event Permit or rezoning.
 

For more information on the registration process and requirements, please contact:

Other helpful links provided by the Travel Kansas website.