[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of North Greenbush 12-9-2004 by L.L. No. 7-2004. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Right to Farm Law of the Town of North Greenbush."
It is the general purpose and intent of this chapter to maintain and preserve the rural tradition and character of the Town of North Greenbush, to permit the continuation of the business of farming within the Town, to protect the existence and operation of established farms and to encourage the initiation and expansion of farming businesses. In recognition of the fact that there are many practices and activities which are inherent to and necessary for the business of farming, it is the specific purpose and intent of this chapter to attain the aforementioned goals and objectives by providing that such practices and activities may proceed and be undertaken free of unreasonable and unwarranted interference or restrictions. It is further the intent of this chapter to encourage sound practices of farming within the Town, to enhance farming and public safety, and to promote harmony among its farmer and nonfarmer residents.
Unless specifically defined below, words or phrases used in this chapter shall be interpreted so as to give them the meanings they have in common usage and to give this chapter its most reasonable application.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A parcel of land devoted to agriculture, crop growing, pasturage, horticulture, forestry, and/or stock raising, including dairy, poultry and stock farms.
- Any person, organization, entity, association, partnership or corporation engaged in the operation of a farm as hereinabove defined.
- Any activity conducted, carried out or engaged in by or on behalf of a farmer which is necessarily or reasonably related or incidental to the operation of a farm and which is otherwise compliant with the laws, rules, regulations and restrictions of the United States, the State of New York and the County of Rensselaer which may now or hereafter exist and be in force and effect and with the presently existing local laws, ordinances, rules and regulations of the Town of North Greenbush.
Farmers, as well as those employed, retained or otherwise authorized to act on behalf of farmers, may lawfully engage in farming practices within the Town of North Greenbush at any and all such times and at such locations as are reasonably necessary to conduct the business of farming. For any farming activity or operation, in determining the reasonableness of the time, place and methodology of such operation, 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 technology.
Agricultural practices conducted on farmland shall not be found to be a public or private nuisance if such agricultural practices are:
Reasonable and necessary to the particular farm or farm operation;
Conducted in a manner which is not negligent or reckless;
Conducted in conformity with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations;
Conducted in a manner which does not constitute a threat to public health and safety or cause injury to health or safety of any person; and
Conducted in a manner which does not reasonably obstruct the free passage or use of navigable waters or public roadways.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit an aggrieved party from recovering from damages for bodily injury or wrongful death due to a failure to follow sound agricultural practice, as outlined in this section.
No person, group, entity, association, partnership or corporation will engage in any conduct or act in any manner so as to unreasonably, intentionally, knowingly and deliberately interfere with, prevent or in any way deter the practice of farming within the Town of North Greenbush.
In order to promote harmony between farmers and their neighbors, the Town hereby requires land holders and/or their agents and assigns to comply with § 333-c of the New York Real Property Law and § 310 of Article 25-AA of the New York Agriculture and Markets Law, and provide notice to prospective purchasers and occupants as follows:
This notice shall be provided to prospective purchasers of property within an agricultural district within the Town or on property with boundaries within 500 feet of a farm operation located in an agricultural district. A copy of this notice shall be included by the seller or seller's agent as an addendum to the purchase and sale contract at the time an offer to purchase is made.
Farmers, as well as those employed, retained or otherwise authorized to act on behalf of farmers shall at all times conduct their operations consistent with local zoning and land use laws, § 305 of the New York Agriculture and Markets Law, and such other laws which may reasonably govern the business of agriculture. Sound farming practices shall include proper fencing and other measures necessary to deter livestock from exiting farm properties into roadways (thereby causing a public safety hazard) as well as practical measures to ensure that open storage of farm equipment and farm products is kept a safe distance from roadways and complies with all applicable zoning and land use laws of the Town concerning setbacks.
A violation of this chapter is an offense, punishable by a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $250. Further, each day's violation or each day's continuance of a violation shall constitute a separate offense. In addition, an action to restrain or enjoin any violation of this chapter may be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction by any person aggrieved by such violation.
This chapter and the proscriptions and penalties set forth herein are in addition to and not in lieu of all other applicable laws, rules and regulations, which are therefore continued in full force and effect and unaffected by this chapter. Conversely, this chapter is not intended to contradict or contravene any law, rule, regulation, restriction or proscription of the United States, the State of New York or the County of Rensselaer which may now or hereafter obtain nor of the Town of North Greenbush which may exist as of the date of adoption of this chapter. Accordingly, to the extent that this chapter may be contrary to or inconsistent with such other legislation or regulations, such legislation and regulations shall be deemed continued in full force and effect and unaffected by this chapter.