Purpose of the Agricultural Reserve

The Agricultural Reserve is established in the Future Land Use Element of the Comprehensive Plan, under Objective 1.5. The purpose of the Agricultural Reserve is to preserve unique farmland and wetlands in order to enhance agricultural activity, environmental and water resources, and open space, by limiting uses to agriculture, conservation, low density residential development, and non-residential uses which serve the needs of farmworkers and residents of the Ag Reserve Tier.

2014-2015 Workshops of the Board of County Commissioners

In March 2014, the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) held a workshop to discuss issues and policies affecting the Agricultural Reserve Area, in response to requests by farmers and other property owners seeking to expand the development options available in the Agricultural Reserve. Following that workshop, the BCC directed staff to meet with various interest groups, to prepare a "roundtable" discussion of representatives of each interest group, and to bring the results of the Roundtable process to the BCC for discussion and direction at a future workshop. Additional information regarding the roundtable process can be found here. This subsequent workshop was held in March 2015. At this workshop, the Board directed staff to undertake the following actions:

Outcome of March 24, 2015 Board of County Commissioners Workshop

Topic Direction Timeframes
Return to the Board with appropriate language to revise the current requirements for preserve areas of 60/40 Planned developments, to eliminate the current requirement that a preserve property be at least 150 acres or be contiguous to preserved property totaling 150 acres.

Round 15-2 Comprehensive Plan amendment:

BCC Transmittal July 30th;
BCC Adoption October 26th

Corresponding ULDC amendments:

June 24: LDRAB/LDRC (Special Meeting) (See Exhibit B, pages 7-8 of 70)
July 30: BCC RFP
Oct. 26: BCC Adoption Hearing.

Amend the Unified Land Development Code (ULDC) to modify the 25,000 sq. ft. limitation for packing plants that are accessory to a bona fide agriculture in AGR preserve areas; and to allow community gardens, potting soil manufacturing, and produce stands in preserve areas.

ULDC amendments:  Concurrent with Use Regulation Project for Spring 2016 Adoption

Jan. 20/27 LDRAB/LDRC
Feb. 26 BCC RFP
March 24 BCC Hearing
April 28 BCC Adoption Hearing

Process County initiated map and text amendments to address inconsistencies and find solutions to existing commercial and non-residential uses and services that pre-dated the Agricultural Reserve's provisions.

Round 16-A Comprehensive Plan amendment:

BCC Initiation July 30th;
BCC Transmittal October 26th;
BCC Adoption January 2016

Corresponding ULDC amendments:  Concurrent with Use Regulation Project for Spring 2016 Adoption:

Jan. 20/27 LDRAB/LDRC
Feb. 26 BCC RFP
March 24 BCC Hearing
April 28 BCC Adoption Hearing

Implement Agricultural Enhancement Strategies, such as:

  • Install signs:
    • Indicating designated Agricultural Reserve area.
    • Cautioning motorists of slow moving farm equipment and agricultural activities.
  • Consider traffic flow patterns more conducive to farming operations.
  • Support PBC Young Farmer and Rancher organization.
  • Seek (solicit) sources to accept agricultural plastics more locally, thereby reducing transport expenditures for growers. These include plastic bedding (mulch), ground cover, shade cloth, chemical containers, and pots of various sizes.
  • Encourage and support agritourism where practical:
    • Commodity centered festivals and events
    • Weddings on farms and nurseries
    • Tours for school children and the general public
    • Orchard tours
    • Wine tours/tastings at potential wineries

Bullet points will be discussed at the May 20 Ag Enhancement Council Meeting.

Progress on some bullets is already underway; full update to BCC June/July


Return to the Board with more information on possibility of allowing a farm residence on less than 5 acres, for purpose of selling development rights and preserving the balance of a property

Information and BCC Direction:
July 30th (@ BCC 15-2 Transmittal Meeting)

Determine if the County’s federal lobbying efforts can help the farmers with issues related to the USDA TBD
Bring back to the Board for policy direction any issues identified through applications and petitions for emerging uses, as these occur As needed
Return to the Board with a recommendation on accommodating commercial uses on a very small scale within the Ag Reserve

Information and BCC Direction:
July 30th (@ BCC 15-2 Transmittal)

Return with information regarding offering support for farmers experiencing difficulties Update to BCC June/July

These Board directions are currently being implemented; additional information on these items will be posted on this website as it becomes available.

Agricultural Reserve Master Plan and PDD Maps

The maps below depict publicly owned lands and approved/pending planned development districts (PDDs). Due to the file size, downloads may take several minutes to process depending on the internet connection speed.

Agricultural Reserve Master Plan and PDD Maps:
Ag Reserve Master Plan  
Ag Reserve Small Map - 11 x 17
Ag Reserve Large Map - 22 x 36

If you cannot view PDF files, you can download Acrobat Reader for free from Adobe Systems, Inc. In order to use PDF files, you must have Acrobat installed on your computer.