[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Fitchburg as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Zoning — See Ch. 181.
[Adopted 9-20-2005 by Ord. No. 244-05]
The purpose and intent of this article is to state with emphasis the right to farm accorded to all citizens of the commonwealth 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 Fitchburg restate and republish these rights pursuant to the City's authority conferred by Article 89 of the Articles of Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution (Home Rule Amendment).
This article encourages the pursuit of agriculture, promotes agriculture-based economic opportunities, and protects farmlands within the City of Fitchburg by allowing agricultural uses and related activities to function with minimal conflict with abutters and City agencies. This article shall apply to all jurisdictional areas within the City.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- 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:
- A. Shall include, but not be limited to the following:
- (1) Farming in all its branches and the cultivation and tillage of the soil.
- (2) Dairying.
- (3) Production, cultivation, growing, and harvesting of any agricultural, aquacultural, floricultural, viticultural, or horticultural commodities.
- (4) Growing and harvesting of forest products upon forest land, and any other forestry or lumbering operations.
- (5) Raising of livestock including horses.
- (6) Keeping of horses as a commercial enterprise; and 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.
- B. "Farming" shall encompass activities including, but not limited to, the following:
- (1) Operation and transportation of slow-moving farm equipment over roads within the City;
- (2) Control of pests, including, but not limited to, insects, weeds, predators and disease organisms of plants and animals;
- (3) Application of manure, fertilizers and pesticides;
- (4) Conducting agriculture-related educational and farm-based recreational activities, including agritourism, provided that the activities are related to marketing the agricultural output or services of the farm;
- (5) Processing and packaging of the agricultural output of the farm and the operation of a farmer's market or farm stand including signage thereto;
- (6) Maintenance, repair, or storage of seasonal equipment, or apparatus owned or leased by the farm owner or manager used expressly for the purpose of propagation, processing, management, or sale of the agricultural products; and
- (7) On-farm relocation of earth and the clearing of ground for farming operations.
The right to farm is hereby recognized to exist within the City of Fitchburg. 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 article 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 article 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.