[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Wales 5-8-2007 by L.L. No. 3-2007. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Town of Wales Town Board finds, declares, and determines that agriculture is vital to the Town of Wales, New York because it is a livelihood and provides employment for agri-services; provides locally produced, fresh commodities, agricultural diversity promotes economic stability; agriculture 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 Wales, 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 Wales 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.
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 of farm labor, 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(2) of Article 25-AA of the Agricultural and Markets Law.
- Any person, organization, entity, association, partnership, or corporation engaged in the business of agriculture, for profit or otherwise, including 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.
- The land, buildings, farm residential buildings, and machinery used in the production, whether for profit or otherwise, of agricultural products.
- GENERALLY ACCEPTED AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES
- Those practices which 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 of "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 chapter its most reasonable application.
Farmers, as well as those employed, retained, or otherwise authorized to act on behalf of farmers, may lawfully engage in agricultural practices within the Town of Wales at all such times and in all such locations as are reasonably necessary to conduct the business of agriculture. For any agricultural practice, in determining the reasonableness of the time, place and methodology of such 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.
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 operations;
Conducted in a manner which is not negligent or reckless;
Conducted in conformity with generally accepted agricultural practices;
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 unreasonably 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 damages for bodily injury or wrongful death.
If any part of this chapter is, for any reason, held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the remainder of this chapter.
In order to promote harmony between farmers and their neighbors, the Town of Wales requires landholder and/or their agents and assigns to provide notice to prospective purchasers and occupants as follows: "This property is within the Town of Wales. It is the policy of the Town to conserve, protect, and encourage the development of farm operations within our borders for the production of food and other products and one should be aware of the inherent potential conditions associated with such purchases or residence. Such conditions may include, but are not limited to, noise, odors, fumes, dust, smoke, insects, operation of machinery during any hour, day or night, storage and disposal of plant and animal waste products, and the applications of chemical fertilizers, soil amendments, herbicides, and pesticides by ground or aerial spraying or other methods. Occupying land within the Town of Wales means that one should expect and accept such conditions as a normal and necessary aspect of living in such an area."
Any issue of controversy that arises which cannot be resolved directly between the parties involved, and is not addressed by other laws or regulations, may be promptly and inexpensively resolved by referral to the Town of Wales Conservation Board for opening hearing and recommendations. The Town of Wales Conservation Board will act as a grievance committee as a whole. Any controversy between the parties shall be submitted to the Town of Wales Conservation Board within 30 days of the occurrence and shall be placed on the agenda of the next nearest Town of Wales Conservation Board meeting date.