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Town of Wheatfield, NY
Niagara County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 11-13-2006 by L.L. No. 9-2006]
The Town of Wheatfield has established agricultural zoning which sets as a priority the use of the agricultural lands included therein, and residents of adjacent property or within the zoned areas should be prepared to accept certain inconveniences or discomfort from normal, necessary farm operations.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
All activities by the owner, lessee, agent, independent contractor and supplier conducted on any facility for the production of crops, livestock, poultry, livestock products or poultry products and includes, but is not limited to the cultivation and tillage of the soil; dairying; the production, irrigation, frost protection, cultivation, growing, harvesting and processing of any agricultural commodity, including viticulture, horticulture, timber or apiculture; the raising of livestock, fur-bearing animals, fish or poultry, and any commercial agricultural practices performed as incident to or in conjunction with such operations, including preparation for market, delivery to storage or to market or to carriers for transportation to market.
Land devoted primarily to the production for commercial purposes of livestock or agricultural commodities.
Agricultural operations conducted on farmland that are consistent with good agricultural practices and established prior to surrounding nonagricultural uses are presumed to be reasonable and do not constitute a nuisance unless the agricultural operation has a substantial adverse effect on the public health and safety. Inspection and approval of the agricultural or farming operation, place, establishment or facility by the Commissioner of Agriculture or his designee shall be prima facie evidence that such operation follows generally accepted agricultural practices.
Agricultural operations undertaken in conformity with federal, state and local laws and regulations are presumed to be good agricultural practice and not adversely affecting the public health and safety. Notwithstanding any general statute or municipal ordinance or regulation pertaining to nuisances to the contrary, no agricultural or farming operation, place, establishment or facility, or any of its appurtenances, or the operation thereof, shall be deemed to constitute a nuisance, either public or private, due to alleged objectionable:
Odor from livestock, manure, fertilizer or feed;
Noise from livestock or farm equipment used in normal, generally acceptable, farming procedures;
Dust created during plowing or cultivation operations;
Use of chemicals, provided such chemicals and the method of their application conform to practices approved by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection or, where applicable, the Commissioner of Public Health; or
Water pollution from livestock or crop production activities, except the pollution of public or private drinking water supplies, provided such activities conform to acceptable management practices for pollution control approved by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, and provided such agricultural or farming operation, place, establishment or facility has been in operation for one year or more and has not been substantially changed, and such operation follows generally accepted agricultural practices.
The provisions of this section shall not apply whenever a nuisance results from negligence or willful or reckless misconduct in the operation of any such agricultural or farming operation, place, establishment or facility, or any of its appurtenances.
The intent and purposes of this article shall also be taken into consideration by the Town in processing applications for rezoning, site plan approval or special use permits within one mile of any farm.
If a subdivision is at any point within 500 feet of an agriculture zone, the approval of the tentative and final subdivision map shall be conditional upon the recordation with the County Recorder of a notice in substantially the following form:
Wheatfield Town Right-To-Farm Notice
It is the declared policy of the Town of Wheatfield to preserve, protect, and encourage development of its agricultural land and industries for the production of food and other agricultural products. Residents of property in or near agricultural districts should be prepared to accept the inconveniences and discomfort associated with normal farm activities. Consistent with this policy, the New York Right to Farm Enabling Statute provides that an agricultural pursuit, as defined, maintained for commercial uses shall not be or become a nuisance due to a changed condition in a locality after such agricultural pursuit has been in operation for three years.
The real estate disclosure notice required under the Agricultural Districts Law[1] will be attached to the purchase and sale contract at the time an offer to purchase is made, or shall be provided prior to the sale or exchange of real property if no purchase and sale agreement exists, or prior to the acquisition of a leasehold interest or other interest in real property located in the Town of Wheatfield, which states the following:
"It is the policy of the Town of Wheatfield to conserve, protect and encourage the maintenance and improvement of agricultural land for the production 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. Buyers or occupants are also informed that the location of property within the Town may be impacted by commercial agricultural operations."
Editor's Note: Article 25AA of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.
Failure to comply with any provision of this article shall not prevent the recording of any document, nor shall it affect title to real property or any mortgage or deed of trust made in good faith or for value. However, any person who violates any provision of this article is guilty of an infraction punishable by law with a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $150 for each day's or continuation of the violation.
In addition, an action to restrain or enjoin any violation of this article may be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction by any aggrieved entity and/or the Town of Wheatfield. This section is in no way intended to limit damages that may be awarded in nuisance suits.
Should any controversy arise regarding any inconveniences or discomforts associated with agricultural operations which cannot be resolved directly between the parties involved, the parties may submit the controversy to a grievance committee as set forth below in an attempt to resolve the matter prior to the filing of any court action.
This procedure establishes the Wheatfield Town Agricultural Grievance Committee, which shall arbitrate and mediate disputes involving agricultural operations and issue advisory opinions on whether agricultural operations are conducted in a manner consistent with proper and accepted customs and standards as established by similar agricultural operations in the same locality.
The Town of Wheatfield Agricultural Committee shall serve as the agricultural grievance committee as the need arises. Planning Department staff shall prepare staff reports and maintain minutes of each meeting of the grievance committee. Members of the grievance committee shall receive their regular compensation as members of the Planning Commission for carrying out these duties.
Any controversy between the parties may be submitted in writing to the grievance committee within 30 days of the date of the occurrence of the particular activity giving rise to the controversy or of the date a party became aware of the occurrence.
Thereafter the grievance committee may investigate the facts of the controversy but must, within 45 days, hold a meeting to consider the merits of the matter and, within 20 days of the meeting, render a written decision to the parties. At the time of the meeting, both parties shall have an opportunity to present what each considers to be pertinent facts. The decision of the grievance committee is final and shall not be appealed to the Town Board.
The effectiveness of the grievance committee as a forum for resolution of disputes is dependent upon the willingness of both parties to voluntarily submit the dispute to arbitration and their agreement to abide by the grievance committee's decision. Full discussion and complete presentation of all pertinent facts concerning the dispute is necessary to eliminate any misunderstandings. The parties are encouraged to cooperate in the exchange of pertinent information concerning the controversy.
Any costs associated with the functioning of the grievance committee process, including costs of investigation, shall be borne by the losing party or in such proportion as the grievance committee shall deem appropriate. The Town Board may, by resolution, prescribe fees.