[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Yarmouth as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Agricultural Commission — See Ch. 8.
Zoning — See Zoning Bylaw.
[Adopted 4-8-2008 ATM by Art. 33, approved 8-5-2008]
The purpose and intent of this code is to restate the right to farm accorded to all citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under Article 97 of the Constitution and all state statutes and regulations thereunder, including but not limited to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40A § 3, Paragraph 1; Chapter 90, § 9, Chapter 111, § 125A and Chapter 128 § 1A. We, the citizens of Yarmouth, restate and republish these rights pursuant to the Town's authority conferred by Article 89 of the Articles of Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution ("Home Rule Amendment").
This general code encourages the pursuit of agriculture, promotes Agriculture-based economic opportunities and protects farmlands within the Town of Yarmouth by allowing agricultural uses and related activities to function with minimal conflict with abutters and town agencies. This Code shall apply to all jurisdictional areas within the Town.
This Right to Farm Code shall not amend or establish any exemption to any existing or future Town of Yarmouth Bylaw or regulation, nor shall this Right to Farm Code establish a community standard of reasonableness applicable to any action, criminal or civil, in which the reasonableness of noise, odors, dust, fumes or other impacts of agricultural or aquacultural operations are at issue.
- Shall include any parcel or contiguous parcels of land or water bodies used for the primary purpose of commercial agriculture or accessory thereto.
- FARMING or AGRICULTURE or their derivatives
- Shall include, but not be limited to the following:
- A. Farming in all its branches and the cultivation and tillage of the soil; dairying;
- B. Production, cultivation, growing and harvesting or any agricultural, aquacultural, floricultural, viticulture, or horticultural commodities;
- C. Growing and harvesting of forest products upon forest land and any other forestry or lumbering operations.
- D. Keeping and raising of livestock including horses; keeping of horses as a commercial enterprise; and
- E. Keeping and raising of poultry, swine, cattle, ratites (such as emus, ostriches and rheas) and camelids (such as llamas and camels) and other domesticated animals for food and other agricultural purposes, including bees and fur-bearing animals.
- Shall encompass activities including but not limited to the following:
- A. Operation and transportation of slow-moving farm equipment over roads within the Town;
- B. Control of pests, including but not limited to, insects, weeds, predators and disease organism of plants and animals;
- C. Application of manure, fertilizers and pesticides;
- D. Conducting agriculture-related educational and farm-based recreational activities including agri-tourism, provided that the activities are related to marketing the agriculture output or services of the farm;
- E. Processing and packaging of the agricultural output of the farm and the operation of the farmer's market or farm stand including signage thereto;
- F. Maintenance, repair or storage of seasonal equipment or apparatus owned or leased by the farm owner or manager expressly for the purpose of propagation, processing, management or sales of the agricultural products; and
- G. On-farm relocation of earth and the clearing of trees, brush and ground for farming operations.
The right to farm is hereby recognized to exist within the Town of Yarmouth. The above-described agricultural activities may occur on holidays, weekdays, and weekends by night or day and shall include the attendant incidental noise, odors, dust and fumes associated with normally accepted agricultural practices. It is hereby determined that whatever impact may be caused to others through the normal practice of agriculture is more than offset by the benefits of farming to the neighborhood, community and society in general. The benefits and protections of this code are intended to apply exclusively to those commercial agricultural and farming operations and activities conducted in accordance with generally accepted agricultural practices. Moreover, nothing in this right to farm general code shall be deemed as acquiring any interest in land, or as imposing any land use regulation, which is properly the subject of state statute, regulation or local zoning law.
Person or entities engaged in farming or agriculture shall follow all reasonable and practicable precautions to minimize the adverse impact of farm operations on others, including but not limited to:
Avoiding noise: generating operations between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
Using available technologies, such as muffler, sound proofing, and quieter machinery to reduce noise at all times.
Locating operations or machinery which generates adverse impacts as far from neighbors as the site allows.
Reduction of dust or odors.
Within 30 days after this general code becomes effective, the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Yarmouth shall prominently post in the Town Hall and make available for distribution the following disclosure:
"It is the policy of this community to conserve, protect and encourage the maintenance and improvement of agricultural land for the protection of food and other agricultural products and also for its natural and ecological value. This disclosure notification is to inform buyers or occupants that the property they are about to acquire or occupy lies within a town where farming activities occur. Such farming activities may include, but are not limited to activities that cause noise, dust and odors."
The Town of Yarmouth shall post this disclosure notification on the Town's website.
Any person who seeks to complain about the operation of a farm may, notwithstanding pursuing any other available remedy, file a grievance with the Board of Health, Zoning Enforcement Officer, or Natural Resources depending upon the nature of the grievance. The filing of the grievance does not suspend the time within which to pursue any other available remedies that the aggrieved may have. The Board of Health, Zoning Enforcement Officer, or Natural Resources may forward a copy of the grievance to the Agricultural Commission or its agent, which shall review and facilitate the resolution of the grievance involving all concerned parties and report its recommendations to the referring Town authority within an agreed upon time frame.
If any part of this general code is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the remainder of this general code. The Town of Yarmouth hereby declares the provisions of this general code to be severable.