[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Pittsford 12-18-2007 by L.L. No. 11-2007. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Right to Farm Law of the Town of Pittsford."
The Pittsford Town Board finds, declares and determines agriculture is vital to the Town of Pittsford, New York, because it is a livelihood and provides employment for several of our historical farm families and their support workers. In addition, agriculture provides locally produced fresh commodities, promotes economic stability, maintains open space and promotes environmental quality; and agricultural land does not increase the demand for services provided by local governments.
In order to maintain a viable farming economy in the Town of Pittsford, farmers must be afforded protection allowing them the right to farm. When nonagricultural land uses extend into agricultural areas, agricultural operations may become the subject of nuisance suits. As a result, agricultural operations are sometimes forced to cease operations or are discouraged from making investments in agricultural improvements.
It is the purpose of this chapter to reduce the loss to the Town of Pittsford of its agricultural resources by limiting the circumstances under which farming may be deemed to be a nuisance and to allow agricultural practices inherent to and necessary for the business of farming to proceed and be undertaken free of unreasonable and unwarranted interference or restriction.
The Town Board finds, declares and determines that § 308 of Article 25-AA of the Agriculture and Markets Law provides an important foundation for achieving the right-to-farm protection sought in the Town and that, in order to address the unique circumstances facing agriculture in the Town, it is necessary and desirable to provide a more comprehensive local right-to-farm protection.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES
- All activities conducted by a farmer on a farm to produce agricultural products and which are inherent and necessary to the operation of a farm and the on-farm production, processing and marketing of agricultural products, including but not limited to the collection, transportation, distribution, storage and land application of animal wastes; storage, transportation and use of equipment for tillage, planting, harvesting, irrigation, fertilization and pesticide application; storage and use of legally permitted fertilizers, limes and pesticides all in accordance with local, state and federal law and regulations and in accordance with manufacturers' instructions and warnings; storage, use and application of animal feed and foodstuffs; construction and use of farm structures and facilities for the storage of animal wastes, farm equipment, pesticides, fertilizers, agricultural products and livestock, for the sale of agricultural products and for the use and housing of farm laborers and their families, as permitted by local and state building codes and regulations; including the construction and maintenance of fences.
- AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
- Those products as defined in § 301, Subdivision 2, of Article 25-AA of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
- FARM OPERATION
- The land and on-farm buildings, equipment, manure processing and handling facilities and practices which contribute to the production, preparation and marketing of crops, livestock and livestock products as a commercial enterprise, including a "commercial horse boarding operation" as defined in § 301, Subdivision 13, of Article 25-AA of the Agriculture and Markets Law and "timber processing" as defined in § 301, Subdivision 14 of Article 25-AA of the Agriculture and Markets Law. Such farm operation may consist of one or more parcels of owned or rented land, which parcels may be contiguous or noncontiguous to each other.
- Any person, organization, entity, association, partnership or corporation engaged in the business of the production, processing and marketing of agricultural products, as a commercial enterprise, including, but not limited to, the cultivation of land, the raising of crops or the raising of livestock, poultry, fur-bearing animals or fish, the harvesting of timber or the practicing of horticulture or apiculture.
- GENERALLY ACCEPTED AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES
- Those practices that are feasible, lawful, inherent, customary, necessary, reasonable, normal, safe and typical to the industry or unique to the commodity as they pertain to the practices listed in the definition entitled "agricultural practices."
Unless specifically defined above, words or phrases used in this chapter shall be interpreted so as to give them meanings they have in common usage and to give this article its most reasonable application.
Farmers, as well as those employed, retained or otherwise authorized to act on behalf of farmers, may lawfully engage in generally accepted agricultural practices within the Town of Pittsford at any and all such times and in all such locations as are reasonably necessary to carry on a farm operation. In determining the reasonableness of the time, place and methodology of such farm operation or practice, due weight and consideration shall be given to both traditional customs and procedures in the farming industry, as well as to advances resulting from increased knowledge and improved technologies.
Any farm operation conducted on farmland within the Town shall not be found to be a public or private nuisance if such operation is conducted according to the "Sound Agricultural Practices Guidelines" of the State's Advisory Council on Agriculture.
No person, group, entity, association, partnership or corporation shall engage in any conduct or act in any manner so as to unreasonably, intentionally, knowingly or deliberately interfere with, prevent or in any way deter the practice of farming within the Town of Pittsford.
Should any issue or controversy arise regarding inconvenience, nuisance or discomfort resulting from agricultural practices which cannot be resolved directly between the parties involved, and upon the written request of either party, to the Town's Environmental Board, the issue or controversy shall be submitted to the Environmental Board of the Town of Pittsford, in an attempt to resolve the matter prior to court action and prior to a request for a determination by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets as to whether the practice in question is sound pursuant § 308 of Article 25-AA of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
Any such written request of one of the parties shall be submitted to the Environmental Board within 30 days of the occurrence or of the date a party became aware of the occurrence. Upon receipt of such written request, the issue or controversy shall be placed on the agenda of the next nearest Environmental Board meeting for resolution recommendations, following an open hearing.
Prior to and during the hearing process, the parties shall exchange all relevant information concerning the issue or controversy and agricultural practice in question, and provide such information to the Environmental Board for review. At such hearing, both parties shall have an opportunity to present any relevant information to the Environmental Board. In addition, the Environmental Board is encouraged to solicit outside advice (e.g., Monroe County Cooperative Extension, Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District, etc.) in making their recommendations.
Within 30 days of the conclusion of the hearing, the Environmental Board shall render written resolution recommendations to the parties.