[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Geneva 11-9-2010 by L.L. No. 5-2010. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Zoning — See Ch. 165.
This chapter shall be known as the "Right to Farm Law of the Town of Geneva."
It is hereby found and declared by the Town Board of the Town of Geneva that agriculture lands are irreplaceable assets. To that end, the Town Board affirms that farming is an essential activity. Farming, as defined in the Right to Farm Law, reinforces the special quality of life enjoyed by citizens, provides the visual benefit of open space and generates economic benefits and social well-being within the community. Therefore, it is emphasized to residents that this municipality encourages its agriculture and requests its residents to understand the necessary day-to-day operations associated with agricultural land use.
It is the general purpose and intent of this chapter to maintain and preserve the rural tradition and character of the Town of Geneva, to permit the continuation of agriculture practices and the business of farming, to protect the existence and operation of farms and to encourage the initiation and expansion of farms and agricultural 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.
The Town Board, in an effort to promote and foster a harmonious relationship between the residents of the Town of Geneva, and to conserve, protect and encourage the development and improvement of agricultural land for the production of food and other products, hereby declares that it shall be the policy of the Town of Geneva to provide reasonable notice to prospective landowners that farming activities will occur on neighboring lands.
Unless specifically defined below, words or phrases used in this chapter shall be interpreted so as to give them the meaning they have in common usage and to give this chapter its most reasonable and effective application.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- AGRICULTURAL FARM OPERATIONS
- Any person, organization, entity, association, partnership or corporation engaged in the business of agriculture or farming or agriculture practices, whether for profit or otherwise.
- AGRICULTURAL LAND
- Any single or multiple, contiguous or noncontiguous parcel or parcels that together represent all that real property within the boundaries of the Town of Geneva currently used for agricultural farm operations or upon which agriculture practices are being utilized or upon which agriculture farm operations or agricultural practices may in the future be established or utilized.
- AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES
- Any activity, including the cultivation of land, the raising of crops, the raising of livestock, dairy, poultry, horticulture, timber; the production, whether for sale to others or home use or consumption, of plants and animals, fruit, vegetable and field crops; plantations, orchards, nurseries, greenhouses, or other similar agricultural practices used primarily for the raising, marketing, or sales of on-premises-produced agricultural or horticultural value-added commodities. Further, agricultural practices shall include any activity now permitted by law, any activity recommended by the Cornell Cooperative Extension or by Soil and Water Conservation or any activity engaged in by or on behalf of a farmer in connection with and furtherance of the business of agriculture or farming and shall include, without limitation, the collection, transportation, distribution and storage of animal and poultry waste; storage, transportation and use of equipment for tillage, planting, harvesting and marketing; transportation, storage and use of legally permitted fertilizers and limes, insecticides, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides, all in accordance with local, state, and federal law and regulation and in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and warnings; the generation of noise; construction of farm structures and facilities as permitted by local and state building code regulation; construction and maintenance of fences and other enclosures; and the use and/or maintenance of related pastures, idle or fallow land, woodland, wetland, farm ponds, farm roads and certain farm buildings and other structures related to the agricultural practices.
- (1) The following examples are intended to be illustrative of common agricultural practices covered within this definition, but are not inclusive:
- (a) Providing for the wholesale and retail marketing, including U-pick marketing, and sales of the agricultural output of the farm and value-added related products that contribute to farm income, including the sale at the owner's farm stand of agricultural products of the farm.
- (b) Replenishing soil nutrients, including but not limited to the spreading of manure and applying approved inorganic and organic fertilizers.
- (c) Using federally approved products, in accordance with label instructions, as recommended by the Cornell Cooperative Extension, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation for the control of pests, predators, varmints, diseases affecting plants and livestock, and for the control of weed infestation.
- (d) Transporting large, slow-moving equipment over roads within the Town of Geneva, in accordance with local, state, and federal law and regulation. Occasional traffic and travel inconveniences due to weather conditions (e.g., extreme heat, rain, mud) are to be expected on highways in the Town of Geneva.
- (e) Clearing of woodlands using accepted techniques and installing and maintaining vegetative and terrain alterations and other physical facilities for water and soil conservation and surface water control.
- (2) The foregoing uses, activities and rights, when reasonable and necessary for agricultural or horticultural production and when conducted in accordance with generally accepted agricultural practices, may occur on holidays, Sundays and weekends, by day or night.
- The land, buildings and equipment contributing to the production, preparation and/or marketing of agricultural products.
- Any person, organization, entity, association, partnership or corporation engaged in an agricultural farm operation or agricultural practices as defined herein.
- The act of engaging in an agricultural farm operation and/or agricultural practices as defined herein.
- FARM OPERATION
- The land and on-farm buildings, equipment, manure processing and handling facilities, and practices which contribute to the production, preparation and marketing of crops, livestock and livestock products as a commercial enterprise. Such farm operation may consist of one or more parcels of owned or rented land, which parcels may be contiguous or noncontiguous to each other.
- SOUND AGRICULTURAL PRACTICE
- Any agricultural practice, or appurtenances thereto, conducted or maintained in a manner consistent with management practices such as those recommended by state and federal agencies within the educational aspects of farmers and agricultural practices, herein and hereafter referred to as "accepted customs and standards."
Farmers, as well as those employed or otherwise authorized to act on behalf of farmers, may lawfully engage in agricultural practices or an agricultural farm operation within the Town of Geneva at any and all such times and at all such locations as are reasonably necessary to carry on an agricultural farm or agricultural value-added operation or agricultural practice. In determining the reasonableness of the time, place and methodology of such operation, due weight and consideration shall be given to both traditional customs, procedures and sound agricultural practices in the agricultural industry as well as to advances resulting from increased knowledge or improved technologies.
No agricultural practice or appurtenances thereto, conducted or maintained in a manner consistent with management practices such as those recommended by state and federal agencies within the educational aspects of farmers and agricultural practices, herein and hereafter referred to as "accepted customs and standards," shall be or become either a public or private nuisance.
No person, group, entity, association, partnership, or corporation shall engage in any conduct or act in any manner so as to unreasonably, intentionally, knowingly, and/or deliberately interfere with, prevent, or in any way deter the practice of farming within the Town of Geneva.
Noncompliance with any provision of this chapter shall not affect title to real property, nor prevent the recording of any document. Violation of any provision of this chapter may constitute an offense punishable by law with a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $150 for each day's violation or continuation of the violation.
In addition, an action to restrain or enjoin any violation of this chapter may be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction by any aggrieved entity and/or the Town of Geneva.
The Town Board shall create an Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC). The purpose of the Committee is to advise the Town on any and all agricultural matters, including but not limited to questions from Town residents regarding agricultural practices, location of drainage lines, and farmland protection techniques. The Committee shall be composed of seven members, which should be composed of three agriculture business owners, two nonagricultural residential owners and two members of the Planning Board of the Town of Geneva.
Should any controversy arise, which cannot be settled by direct negotiation between the parties involved, regarding any inconveniences or discomfort occasioned by any agricultural operations or agricultural practices, as defined in § 117-3 of this chapter, including but not limited to noises, odors, fumes, dust, the operation of machinery of any kind during any hour of the day or night, the storage and disposal of manure, and the application by spraying or otherwise of organic or inorganic fertilizers, soil amendments, herbicides and/or pesticides, the parties will submit the controversy to the Town of Geneva Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC) through the Code Enforcement Office as set forth below in an attempt to resolve the matter prior to the filing of any court action.
Any controversy between the parties will be submitted to the Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC), whose decision shall be advisory only, within five 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.
The effectiveness of the Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC) as a forum for the resolution of disputes is dependent upon full discussion and complete presentation of all pertinent facts concerning the dispute in order to eliminate any misunderstandings. The parties are encouraged to cooperate in the exchange of pertinent information concerning the controversy.
The controversy shall be presented to the Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC) by written consent of one of the parties within the time specified herein. Thereafter, the Committee may investigate the facts of the controversy, but must, within 14 days, hold a meeting to consider the merits of the matter and within 10 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 Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC) shall not be binding. If one of the parties is not satisfied with the Committee's decision, either party may submit the matter to the Town Board according to the procedures set forth as follows:
The controversy between the parties shall be submitted to the Town Board upon written request of either party.
The Town Board shall review the controversy with a report from the proceedings of the Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC). Within 30 days of the written request, the Town Board shall render a written decision to the parties.
Agricultural data statement. The Town of Geneva will require and support the requirement for agricultural data statements as prescribed in NYS Agriculture and Markets Law Article 25AA, § 305(a).
Agricultural disclosure for new residential development.
For the purpose of giving due notice of nearby farming uses to proposed new residential areas within 500 feet of any agricultural farm operation, the Planning Board shall require any applicant for a major or minor subdivision that is within 500 feet of any agricultural farm operation, as a condition of approval of such application, to include in each and every deed conveying all or any portion of the lands thereby subdivided, as well as on filed final subdivision maps, the following record notice to and waiver by grantees of such present or future proximate farming uses, which provision shall be made to run with the land.
The above notice shall also be included on building permits and on plats and subdivisions submitted for approval pursuant to New York State Town Law and/or the Code of the Town of Geneva.
The risk of any impact of these agricultural uses on the purchase of property is specifically to be borne by the purchaser of that property.
Agricultural disclosure at time of property transfer. The Town of Geneva encourages the County of Ontario to foster and support the agriculture disclosure requirement as prescribed in NYS Agriculture and Markets Law Article 25AA, § 310.
Insofar as the provisions of this chapter are inconsistent with the provisions of any other chapter, local law, rule or ordinance, the provisions of this chapter shall supersede those found inconsistent and prevail.