[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Hadley as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 10-28-2004 STM by Art. 11]
The purpose and intent of this bylaw are to explain 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 MGL c. 40A, § 3, Paragraph 1; MGL c. 90, § 9; MGL c. 111, § 125A; and MGL c. 128, § 1A. We the citizens of Hadley restate and republish these rights pursuant to the Town's authority conferred by Article 89 of the Articles of Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution ("Home Rule Amendment").
This general bylaw encourages the pursuit of agriculture, promotes agriculture-based economic opportunities, and protects farmlands within the Town of Hadley by allowing agricultural uses and related activities to function with minimal conflict with abutters and Town agencies. This bylaw shall apply to all jurisdictional areas within the Town.
The word "farm" shall include any parcel or contiguous parcels of land or water bodies used for the primary purpose of commercial agriculture or accessory thereto.
The word "farming" or "agriculture" or their derivatives shall include but not be limited to the following:
Farming in all its branches and the cultivation and tillage of the soil.
Production, cultivation, growing, and harvesting of any agricultural, floricultural, viticultural, or horticultural commodities.
Growing and harvesting of forest products upon forest land.
Breeding of livestock, including horses.
Keeping and raising of poultry, swine, cattle, sheep, goats, rabbits, 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 such as mink.
"Farming" shall encompass activities including but not limited to the following:
Operation and transportation of slow-moving and/or oversized farm equipment over roads within the Town;
Use of legally established rights-of-way over private property;
Control of pests and application of manure, fertilizers and pesticides, as permitted under and in compliance with state law;
Conducting agriculture-related educational and farm-based recreational activities, including agri-tourism, provided that the activities are related to marketing the agricultural output or services of the farm;
Processing and packaging of the agricultural output of the farm and the operation of a farmer's market or farm stand;
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 agricultural products, insofar as not in conflict with Town bylaws; and
On-farm relocation of earth and the clearing of ground for farming operations, insofar as permitted by the Wetlands Protection Act.
The right to farm is hereby recognized to exist within the Town of Hadley. 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. The benefits and protections of this bylaw 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 bylaw 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, or other bylaw or regulation.
[Amended 11-18-2010 STM by Art. 3]
Within 30 days after this bylaw becomes effective, the Select Board shall prominently post in the Town Hall the following disclosure: "It is the policy of this community 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 affected by commercial agricultural operations."
Any person who seeks to complain about the operation of a farm may, notwithstanding pursuing any other available remedy, file a grievance with the Select Board, the Zoning Enforcement Officer, or the Board of Health, depending upon the nature of the grievance. The filing of the grievance does not suspend the time within which to pursue any other available remedies that the aggrieved may have. The Zoning Enforcement Officer or Select Board may forward a copy of the grievance to the Agricultural Commission or its agent, which shall review and attempt to facilitate the resolution of the grievance and report its recommendations to the referring Town authority within an agreed upon time frame.
[Amended 11-18-2010 STM by Art. 3]
The Board of Health, except in cases of imminent danger or public health risk, may forward a copy of the grievance to the Agricultural Commission or its agent, which shall review and attempt to facilitate the resolution of the grievance and report its recommendations to the Board of Health within an agreed upon time frame.
If any part of this bylaw is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the remainder of this bylaw. The Town of Hadley hereby declares the provisions of this bylaw to be severable.