[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Southold 9-9-2008 by L.L. No. 12-2008. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 135, Farm Stands, adopted 5-13-1997 by L.L. No. 9-1997, as amended.
This chapter shall be known as the "Agricultural Uses Law."
Regulation of agricultural uses in the Town of Southold is necessary to facilitate and encourage bona fide agricultural operations while providing for the health, safety and welfare of the Town's residents and its visitors. Farm stands are an important part of the Town's agricultural base and character, and are increasingly vital to the viability of the agricultural industry in the Town. The second article of this proposed chapter governing agricultural uses will pertain to farm stands and require, among other things, that they be part of active farming operations within the Town.
This chapter is enacted pursuant to § 10 of the Municipal Home Rule Law to promote the public health, safety and general welfare of Town citizens through land use regulations intended to govern agricultural uses within the entire Town. The variance provision of this chapter shall supersede any inconsistent portions of the Town Law § 267-a and govern the subject of variances in this chapter.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION
- The production for sale of crops, livestock or livestock products, which shall include but not be limited to:
- A. Field crops, including corn, wheat, oats, rye, barley, hay, potatoes and dry beans;
- B. Fruits, including apples, peaches, grapes, cherries, tomatoes and berries;
- C. Vegetables, including snap beans, cabbage, carrots, beets and onions;
- D. Horticultural specialties, including nursery stock, ornamental shrubs, ornamental trees and flowers;
- E. Livestock and livestock products, including cattle, sheep, hogs, goats, horses, poultry, ratites, such as ostriches, emus, rheas and kiwis, farmed deer, farmed buffalo, fur-bearing animals, milk, eggs and furs;
- F. Maple sap;
- G. Christmas trees derived from a managed Christmas tree operation whether dug for transplanting or cut from the stump;
- H. Aquaculture products, including fish, fish products, water plants and shellfish;
- I. Woody biomass, which means short-rotation woody crops raised for bioenergy, and shall include farm woodland.
- AGRICULTURAL USES
- Activities devoted primarily to production, processing, marketing and sale of agricultural and aquacultural commodities, including any and all agricultural, horticultural, vineyard products, corn for grain, oats, soybeans, barley, wheat, poultry or poultry products, bees, maple syrup, Christmas trees, livestock, including swine, and honey, sold in the state either in their natural state or as processed by the producer thereof, but does not include milk, timber or timber products, other than Christmas trees, all hay, rye and legumes.
- FARM STAND
- Any primary structure or portion of a structure greater than 80 square feet in area used for the purpose of retail sale of locally produced agricultural products grown by the owner or lessor of the structure, as well as the accessory sale of processed agricultural products, agriculture-related products and incidental accessory items. For the purposes of this chapter, a farm stand shall be limited to structures operated by an applicant on a parcel with either not less than seven acres of land used as a single operation in the preceding two years for the production or sale of crops, livestock or livestock products of an average gross sales value of $10,000 or more or land of seven acres or less used as a single operation in the preceding two years for the production or sale of crops, livestock or livestock products of an average gross sales value of $50,000 or more.
- PROCESSED AGRICULTURAL PRODUCT
- Agricultural product which has been converted from its original state into a distinct product by techniques such as cooking, distillation, fermentation, crushing and straining. Examples of processed agricultural product include, without limitation, jams, jellies, cheeses, potato chips, wine and other alcoholic beverages. Simple washing, cleaning, arrangement or packaging of agricultural product shall not cause the product to be considered "processed" under this definition.
- RETAIL SALES AREA
- Portions of a farm stand operation, usually covered, which are dedicated to the direct marketing and sale of farm stand products, including public rest rooms, but excluding storage areas, temporary display areas and other areas not accessible to the general public.
No person shall erect, place or operate a farm stand without the Building Department's issuance of a farm stand permit for the farm stand operation. A farm stand permit shall be subject to revocation if the farm stand fails to operate in compliance with the requirements set forth herein.
The Building Department shall only issue a farm stand permit to a party engaged in bona fide agricultural production within the Town of Southold. For the purposes of this article, "bona fide agricultural production" shall be limited to the operation, within the Town of Southold, of either not less than seven acres of land used as a single operation in the preceding two years for the production or sale of crops, livestock or livestock products of an average gross sales value of $10,000 or more or land of seven acres or less used as a single operation in the preceding two years for the production or sale of crops, livestock or livestock products of an average gross sales value of $50,000 or more.
A farm stand existing as of the date of adoption of this article which does not meet the requirements of this article shall be deemed to be a nonconforming building under the Zoning regulations of this Code, Chapter 280. Notwithstanding the contrary provisions of this article, a farm stand legally existing in the Town as of January 1, 2008, shall be permitted to expand or enlarge the total area of the farm stand structure(s) by up to 50%, cumulatively, of the total area of the farm stand structure(s) legally existing as of January 1, 2008, subject to compliance with the parking requirements of this article.
A farm stand permit shall be issued to applicants meeting the following requirements, and such farm stands shall not require site plan approval from the Planning Board, notwithstanding the provisions of Chapter 280, Article XXIV:
The farm stand is located on lands used in bona fide agricultural production by the owner or lessee of the property.
The total floor area, as defined in Chapter 280, of the farm stand structure(s) does not exceed 3,000 square feet.
The permanent farm stand structure is set back at least 50 feet from the road.
The farm stand parcel provides at least four off-street parking spaces and also provides adequate space that may be used for unimproved on-site parking equivalent to one parking space for each 200 square feet of retail sales area.
Retail sales operations that do not meet the definition of a "farm stand" pursuant to this chapter, as well as farm stands that do not meet the requirements of § 72-6A, shall be subject to the full site plan requirements of Chapter 280, Article XXIV, as well as all other zoning and use restrictions of Chapter 280 or the Town Code.
All farm stands shall conform to the following product offering restrictions:
At least 60% of the gross dollar value of all items offered for sale at farm stands shall consist of agricultural products grown by the farm stand operator within the Town of Southold.
No more than 40% of the gross dollar value of all items offered for sale at a farm stand may consist of the following items only:
Agricultural products grown by a person or entity, other than the farm stand operator, engaged in bona fide agricultural production within the Town of Southold, and not including agricultural products not grown within the Town of Southold;
Items manufactured or processed from the agricultural products grown by the farm stand operator or manufactured or processed from products grown by a person or entity, other than the farm stand operator, engaged in bona fide agricultural production within the Town of Southold;
Clothing, apparel and other similar items, but limited to such items that promote the specific farm stand site or operator, and souvenir items of the farm stand; and
Other accessory items, but limited to items complementary to the specific farm stand agricultural operation, such as decorative housewares, planters and like items.
In all cases, farm stand structure(s) shall not exceed 3,000 square feet in total floor area, as defined in Chapter 280.
Any farm stand that is found not to meet the requirements of this article may appeal such decision or seek a variance therefrom with the Zoning Board of Appeals. In addressing the merits of any variance application, the Zoning Board of Appeals shall consider the benefit to the applicant if the variance is granted, as weighed against the detriment to the health, safety and welfare of the community by such grant, in further consideration of:
Whether an undesirable change will be produced in the character of the neighborhood or a detriment to nearby properties will be created by the granting of the variance;
Whether the benefit sought by the applicant can be achieved by some method, feasible for the applicant to pursue, other than a variance;
Whether the requested variance is substantial;
Whether the proposed variance will have an adverse effect or impact on the physical or environmental conditions in the neighborhood or district; and
Whether the alleged difficulty was self-created, which consideration shall be relevant to the decision of the Board of Appeals but shall not necessarily preclude the granting of the variance.
Any violation of this article shall be grounds for the revocation of an existing farm stand permit. Furthermore, any violator of this article shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 15 days, or both. Each day on which such violation shall occur shall constitute a separate, additional offense as permitted by law. For a second and subsequent conviction within 18 months thereafter, such person shall be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine not exceeding $5,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 15 days, or both.