[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature 4-27-1982 by L.L. No. 11-1982 (Ch. 206 of the 1985 Code). Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of local laws amending these provisions are included at the end of this chapter.]
It is the declared policy of the County of Suffolk to conserve, protect and encourage the use of its agricultural land for the production of food and other agricultural products. When nonagricultural land uses extend into agricultural areas, agricultural operations often become the subject of nuisance suits. As a result, agricultural operations are sometimes forced to cease operations. Many others are discouraged from making investments in farm improvements. It is the purpose of this chapter to reduce the loss to the County of its agricultural resources by limiting the circumstances under which agricultural operations may be deemed to be a nuisance. It is expressly found that whatever nuisance may be caused to others by such uses and activities so conducted is more than offset by the benefits from farming to the neighborhood and community and to society in general by the preservation of open space, the beauty of the countryside and clean air and by the preservation and continuance of farming operation in Suffolk County.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, agricultural activities conducted on farmland, if consistent with good agricultural practices and established prior to surrounding nonagricultural activities, are deemed to be reasonable and shall not constitute a nuisance unless the activity has a substantially adverse effect on the public health and safety. No agricultural or farming operation, resulting from changed conditions in or around the agricultural or farming operation, shall be the subject of a public nuisance action if such agricultural or farming operation has been in existence for one year or more prior to the changed condition and has not been declared to be a nuisance by a commission, local health office, local board of health or court of competent jurisdiction at the time that such operation commenced.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES
- Those activities which are allowed under § 301, Subdivision 3, of the Agriculture and Markets Law of New York.
- Land used primarily for bona fide agricultural production, for commercial purposes, of all those items and products as defined in Agriculture and Markets Law of New York § 301.
- RIGHT TO FARM
- Includes the use of large irrigation pumps and equipment, aerial and ground seeding and spraying, large tractors, numerous farm laborers and the application of fertilizers, all for the purpose of producing from the land agricultural products such as vegetables, grains, hay, fruits, fibers, wood, trees, plants, shrubs, flowers and seeds. This right to farm shall also include the right to use land for grazing by animals, subject to the restrictions for intensive fowl or livestock farms. The foregoing uses and activities included in the right to farm, when reasonable and necessary for the particular farming, livestock or fowl production and when conducted in accordance with generally accepted agricultural practices, may occur on holidays, Sundays and weekdays, at night and in the day, and the noise, odors, dust and fumes that are caused by them are also specifically permitted as part of the exercise of this right, within the Health Department regulation.
The provisions of § 274-2 of this chapter shall not defeat the right of any person, firm or corporation to recover damages for any injuries or damages sustained by them on account of any pollution of, or change in condition of, the waters of any stream or on account of any overflow of lands of any such person, firm or corporation.
This chapter shall not affect actions commenced prior to the effective date hereof.