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General Laws

Section 4. Upon completion of the requirements of section three, the committee shall formulate its recommendations for the formation of an agricultural incentive area within the town or city. Such areas shall be composed principally of agricultural land, land in agricultural or horticultural use, and certain lands contiguous thereto. The committee shall submit said recommendations to local conservation commissions, planning boards, selectmen, or mayor or city manager, and city council, the area conservation district and the regional planning district for their review, and comment within thirty days from receipt thereof. Within the next sixty days following the above mentioned review period, the committee may make such revisions as are in their opinion indicated by said comments and shall hold a public hearing within the municipality. Following the public hearing, the committee may adopt as a plan the proposal or any revisions thereto it deems appropriate; provided, however, that no land may be included in an agricultural incentive area plan pursuant to this section unless the owner of the land has approved in writing the inclusion of his land in the area. The committee shall act to adopt or reject the proposed agricultural incentive area no later than thirty days from the time of the public hearing. The adoption of an agricultural incentive area plan shall be by a two-thirds vote of the committee. The committee shall submit the area plan to the commissioner of food and agriculture for certification by the agricultural lands preservation committee.

The agricultural lands preservation committee shall have sixty days after receipt of the area plan within which to certify to the committee whether the proposed plan is eligible, whether the area to be included consists primarily of suitable agricultural land, and whether the plan of the proposed area appears feasible. If the agricultural lands preservation committee disapproves the area plan, it shall state its reasons for such disapproval in writing together with such suggestions as it deems appropriate. If the agricultural lands preservation committee fails to certify the area plan, the agricultural incentive area committee may resubmit such plan only after the committee has held another public hearing at which hearing any modifications proposed by the agricultural lands preservation committee shall be considered.

Upon certification of an area plan by the agricultural lands preservation committee, the agricultural incentive area committee shall submit the plan to the selectmen or mayor. Approval of the area plan shall require a two-thirds vote of the city council in a city or town meeting in a town. If approved, the area shall be in effect sixty days from the date of approval.

If the area plan is approved by the city or town, the committee shall file a description of the area and a map thereof with the chairman of the planning board, the clerk of the municipality, and the commissioner. The selectmen, mayor or city manager shall file such plan in the public restriction tract index established pursuant to the provisions of section thirty-three of chapter one hundred and eighty-four, of the appropriate registry of deeds.

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