Fremont Community Joint Zoning Ordinance

Table of Contents

Chapter 4: Agricultural Districts

Article 3: Agricultural Residential District (AG-3)

Type of District: Traditional

Section 4-3.01: Purpose and Intent

The regulations of the Agricultural 3 District recognize lands that retain a relatively high proportion of agriculture and open space use but due to urban proximity, population growth, soil characteristics and related factors, experience on-going transition to non-farm low-density residential development. This District is composed of land presently of a rural residential character where large lot single-family residential development has occurred or is likely to occur which does not require urban services such as municipal water supply or sanitary sewer access. However, agricultural activities and many of the uses provided for in other agricultural districts are permitted as well. Therefore, it is the intent that areas developed are done so as to buffer higher intensity urban uses from more intense agricultural activities, which generally would be located in adjacent Agricultural Districts

Section 4-3.02: Permitted Uses

The following uses are permitted:


  1. Single-family detached dwelling
  2. State licensed residential care facilities, family homes


  1. General and specialized farming of agricultural products and agricultural activities, including the raising or growing of crops, livestock, poultry, bees and other farm animals, products and foodstuffs. Any building or structure may be located thereon and used for the day-to-day operation of such activities, for the storage or preservation of said crops or animals, products and collection, distribution, or processing, and for the incidental sale of crops, products and foodstuffs raised or grown on said parcel or in said building or structure.
  2. Storage, retail or wholesale marketing, or processing of agricultural products into a value-added agricultural product is a permitted use in a farming operation if more than 50 percent of the stored, processed, or merchandised products are produced by the farm operator for at least 3 of the immediately preceding 5 years.
  3. Cider mills or wineries selling product, in a tasting room, derived from crops grown primarily on site for at least 3 of the immediately preceding 5 years.
  4. Direct marketing of produce in a farm market, on-farm market, or roadside stand; provided they are no greater than 100 square feet in building area.
  5. Seasonal U-pick fruits and vegetables operations.
  6. Seasonal outdoors mazes of agricultural origin such as straw bales or corn.
  7. Food sales/processing of fruits/produce originating on the parcel.
  8. Uses 3 through 7 listed above may include any or all of the following ancillary agriculturally related uses and some non-agriculturally related uses so long as the general agricultural character of the farm is maintained and the income from these activities represents less than 50 percent of the gross receipts from the farm.
    1. Value-added agricultural products or activities such as education tours or processing facilities, etc.
    2. Bakeries selling baked goods containing produce grown primarily on site (e.g., minimum 50 percent).
    3. Playgrounds or equipment typical of a school playground, such as slides, swings, etc. (not including motorized vehicles or rides).
    4. Petting farms, animal display, and pony rides.
    5. Wagon, sleigh and hayrides.
    6. Nature trails.
    7. Open air or covered picnic area with restrooms.
    8. Educational classes, lectures, seminars.
    9. Historical agricultural exhibits.
    10. Kitchen facilities, processing/cooking items for sale.
    11. Gift shops for the sale of locally produced agricultural, and agriculturally related, products.
    12. Gifts shops for the sale of non-agriculturally related products such as antiques or crafts, limited to 25 percent of gross sales.
  9. Confined feedlots and livestock holding facilities (requires site plan review and Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practice’s (GAAMP’s ) compliance)
  10. Raising of fur-bearing animals or game birds (requires site plan review and GAAMP’s compliance)
  11. Wireless communication towers of under 75 feet in height
  12. Wireless communication antennas when attached to a lawful existing telecommunication tower, water tower or other structure

Section 4-3.03: Additional Uses Allowed By Special Use Permits


  1. Agricultural labor housing
  2. Hospice Residence
  3. State licensed residential care facilities; small group homes provided the facility shall not be within 1,500 feet of another state licensed residential facility
  4. Open space cluster development of up to twenty (20) dwelling units


  1. Direct marketing of produce, farm market, on-farm market or roadside stand if the sales area is greater than 100 square feet in building area.
  2. Restaurant operations related to the agricultural use on the site.
  3. Agri-tourism which includes non-agriculturally related uses, such as the following ancillary uses:
    1. Small-scale entertainment (e.g., music concert, car show, art fair).
    2. Family oriented animated activities (e.g., fun houses, haunted houses, or similar) and small mechanical rides.
    3. Organized meeting space for use by weddings, birthday parties, corporate picnics, etc.
  4. Any permitted use that would require designated permanent parking for more than 20 vehicles.
  5. Campgrounds, public or private
  6. Commercial greenhouses and nurseries, when operated primarily as wholesaling operations and with limited retail sales (the sales area is less than 25% of the area of all structures)
  7. Cemeteries
  8. Commercial kennels
  9. Equine boarding stable and training facility
  10. Essential services
  11. Golf courses or country clubs
  12. Marina
  13. Municipal and public service activities
  14. Outdoor recreational facilities
  15. Place of religious worship
  16. Shooting, rifle and handgun ranges
  17. State licensed residential care facilities, small group homes
  18. Animal and/or Agricultural-based Therapy

Section 4-3.04: Permitted Accessory Uses

The following uses shall be allowed as long as they are accessory to a permitted principal use or a permitted Special Use:

  1. Accessory buildings
  2. Home occupations
  3. Small excavations
  4. Roadside stands
  5. Ponds

Section 4-3.05: Accessory Uses Allowed By Special Use Permits

The following uses shall be allowed by a Special Use Permit:

  1. Bed and breakfast
  2. Home-based business

Section 4-3.06: Parcel Standards

The following standards for parcels shall be complied with:

  1. Minimum lot area: 1.5 acres *

  2. Maximum lot area for new parcels: None

  3. Minimum lot width: 200 ft.

  4. Minimum front setback**: 75 ft.

  5. Minimum rear setback: 50 ft.

  6. Lot width to depth ratio: 1:4

  7. Minimum side setback***: 20 ft. (May allow for a zero lot line – see provisions below)

  8. Maximum lot coverage: 15%

  9. Maximum building height: 35 ft. or 2-1/2 stories

  10. Minimum dwelling area: 600 sq. ft.

    * Open space cluster development may reduce lot sizes to ¾ of an acre.

    ** 125 feet on state trunk line

    *** May require additional setback from agricultural use

    • Lots platted prior to 1985 may have a front setback of 25 feet after Zoning Administrator review.

    • Parcels fronting on a State trunkline are subject to additional setbacks and access management provisions.

    • Zero lot line provisions may be used for main buildings provided:

      1. It is part of development proposal (e.g., a planned unit development or cluster development, not a single-lot development) and approved by the Joint Planning Commission.
      2. The building has an approved fire rating for zero-lot line development under the building code.
      3. The building has adequate fire access preserved pursuant to fire code requirements.
      4. The zero lot line side is not adjacent to a street.
      5. A maintenance access easement among properties is approved by the applicable jurisdiction and recorded with the County Register of Deeds.

Section 4-3.07: Agricultural Buffer

Any side or rear yard of any parcel used for non-farming use and abutting agriculturally used land in the AG-3 District shall be a minimum of fifty (50) feet and shall contain an agricultural buffer. In lieu of a natural open space area, fencing, densely planted vegetation or other similar barrier compliant with “General Provisions” regulations, may be used to reduce the agricultural buffer, but the buffer shall not be less than twenty-five (25) feet in width.

Section 4-3.08: Waterfront and Wetland Setback

  1. A one hundred (100) foot waterfront setback shall be required for septic systems on lots adjacent to a lake, river, creek or stream. Such setback shall be measured from the ordinary high water mark of the body of water to the nearest point of the system.
  2. Within this waterfront setback, a minimum twenty-five (25) foot greenbelt shall be maintained parallel and immediately adjacent to the bank or ordinary high water level. Within the greenbelt, the Zoning Administrator may approve clearing of a space of no greater than ten (10) feet in width, selectively trimmed and pruned to allow for the placement of walkways, and/or for a view of the waterway. The walkway shall be perpendicular to the water. Individual trees may also be removed which are in danger of falling and damaging structures or blocking a navigable waterway.
  3. Grading or removal of vegetative cover shall not be permitted within twenty-five (25) feet of a wetland.

Section 4-3.09: Location of Parking and Parking Area Requirements

  1. Required off-street parking facilities shall be located on the same lot as the building they are intended to serve.
  2. See Chapter 3, “General Provisions” of this Ordinance for general parking area requirements.
  3. The amount of required off-street parking spaces for individual uses shall be determined in accordance with the following table:
Use Parking Requirements (UFA = Usable Floor Area)
Agricultural labor housing 2 per dwelling unit
Bed and breakfast establishment 2 plus 1 per guest room
Single-family detached dwellings 2 per dwelling unit
State licensed residential care facilities, family homes 1 per each 3 individuals computed on the basis of the licensing limits of the facility
State licensed residential care facilities, small group homes 1 per each 3 clients computed on the basis of licensing
Agricultural operations including general farming, truck farming, fruit orchards, nurseries, greenhouses and usual farm operations 1 per employee, plus 1 per each truck
Agricultural Tourism and Seasonal Agricultural Use For agricultural tourism and seasonal agriculturally related uses one space for each 200 square feet of retail area and one space for every 2000 square feet of outdoor related activities such as agricultural mazes, petting farms, outdoor play equipment, etc.
Campgrounds, public or private 2 – 10’ x 30’ spaces for every campsite plus those for accessory uses
Cemeteries 2 spaces plus 1 space for each 400 sq. ft. of UFA for office spaces, plus that required for a caretaker’s residence.
Commercial greenhouses and nurseries, when operated primarily as wholesaling operations and limited retail sales 1 space for each two hundred (200) sq. ft. of UFA, plus 1 space for each two thousand (2,000) sq. ft. of exterior sales area.
Commercial kennels 1 per four hundred (400) sq. ft. of gross floor area, but no fewer than four (4) spaces
Confined feedlots and livestock holding facility 1 space for each service vehicle
Equine boarding stable and training facility 1 per each 2 stalls; parking spaces shall be sized to accommodate vehicles plus trailers
Essential Services 1 space for each service vehicle
Golf courses or country clubs 2 per each hole for a par 3 course; 6 per hole for other courses plus those required for accessory uses as noted in the applicable districts.
Home-based businesses No more than 2 spaces associated with business vehicles
Place of religious worship 1 for each three (3) seats in the main worship unit
Marina 1 space per 2 boat slips and 1 for each employee
Municipal and public service activities 1 space per each service vehicle
Raising of fur bearing animals or game birds 1 per employee
Roadside stands 2 parking spaces
Open space cluster development, up to 20 units 2 per dwelling unit
Outdoor recreational facilities 1 per each 3 participants or anticipated spectators
Shooting, rifle and handgun ranges 1 per shooting station
Wireless communication antennas when attached to a lawful existing telecommunications tower, water tower, or other structure 1 space for service vehicle
Wireless communication towers of under 75 feet in height wholly owned and used by a federally licensed amateur radio station operator 1 space for service vehicle

Section 4-3.10: Signs

  1. The following signs are permitted in the AG- 3 District:
    1. Agricultural Tourism and Seasonal Agricultural Use Signs: seasonal signs may be erected for limited periods of time during the year when retailing activities for a particular farm product is available to the public in accordance with the standards listed in this ordinance for temporary signs.
    2. Entranceway monument signs are permitted for residential developments of up to sixteen (16) square feet for Special Land Uses. One sign for each major public road frontage may be provided. Signs shall not exceed eight (8) feet in height.
    3. Internally illuminated monument signs of up to twenty-four (24) square feet for lawful institutional uses such as churches, schools, parks and all other authorized uses. Signs shall not exceed eight (8) feet in height. One (1) non-illuminated wall sign of up to twenty-four (24) sq. ft. may also be permitted.
    4. One (1) sign of up to eight (8) square feet for a home occupation, home-based business, bed and breakfast, or roadside stand.
    5. Political signs of up to six (6) sq. ft.
    6. Non-illuminated real estate signs of up to six (6) sq. ft. provided they are removed within ten (10) days after consummation of lease or sale of property.
    7. Non-illuminated trespassing, safety, directional, caution or announcement signs each not exceeding two (2) square feet in area or signs announcing the sale of produce each not exceeding six (6) sq. ft. in area.
    8. Name plates of under two (2) sq. ft.
    9. Road name signs and other signs established by state, county, city or township units of government when necessary for giving proper directions or otherwise safeguarding the public.
    10. Non-advertising signs under two (2) sq. ft. erected by any organization, firm or corporation that are needed to warn the public of dangerous conditions and unusual hazards including: caving ground, drop-offs, high voltage, fire danger, explosives, severe visibility limits, etc.
  2. Standards
    1. Signs shall be set back from the road right-of-way and from side property lines a minimum of ten (10) feet.
    2. Sign design shall respect the rural character of the District. As examples, sign colors should be natural and subdued and sign materials should be natural looking (e.g., wood and field stone vs. glossy metals and plastics).
    3. See Chapter 3, “General Provisions” for more sign regulations.