[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Chili as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 7-12-2017 by L.L. No. 2-2017]
This article shall hereinafter be known and cited as the "Right to Farm Law of the Town of Chili, New York."
Intent. The Chili Town Board finds and hereby declares and determines that agriculture is vital to the quality of life in the Town of Chili, New York. Agriculture serves as a livelihood to our farmers, provides employment for our residents, and provides economic benefits to landowners from the renting or leasing of their farmland, while it contributes to the social and economic base of the community. In addition, agricultural operations provide fresh quality produce, while limiting the demand for services provided by local governments when compared to other land uses. In order to maintain a viable agricultural economy in the Town, it is the intent of these regulations to afford farmers and landowners renting to farmers protection allowing them the right to conduct agricultural practices and to operate upon farmland located within the established agricultural areas in the Town with minimal controversy from nonagricultural landowners and neighboring nonagricultural land uses. When nonagricultural land uses extend into established agricultural areas, agricultural operations often become the subject of nuisance lawsuits. As a result of such lawsuits, agricultural operations are sometimes forced to cease, or local farmers and landowners are discouraged from making investments in the agricultural sector.
Purpose. It is hereby the declared purpose of this article to advance the vision, goals and policies articulated in the adopted Town of Chili Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan, which is a part of the adopted Town of Chili 2030 Comprehensive Plan.
Objectives. It is hereby declared that the following objectives are intended by the enactment of this article:
To maintain and preserve, to the extent practical, the established agricultural areas of the Town;
To permit the continuation of agricultural practices upon farmland within the established agricultural areas of the Town;
To protect the Town's natural resource base, and agricultural soils to the greatest extent practical;
To protect the existence and promote the operation of farms within established agricultural areas of the community;
To encourage the expansion of farming and land used in agricultural production, including uses attendant to agricultural uses in accordance with the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.
To promote resolution of issues between landowner(s) and operators concerning agricultural practices and farm operations;
To promote education among Town residents about the importance of agricultural resources; and
To promote the economic and social contributions of this sector of our community.
The following terms, used in the article of the Town Code, shall have the following definitions:
- AGRICULTURAL AND FARMLAND PROTECTION
- The preservation, conservation, management or improvement of lands which are part of farming operations, for the purpose of encouraging such lands to remain in agricultural production.
- AGRICULTURAL DATA STATEMENT
- The form required to be completed, in accordance with the provisions of § 283-a of the New York State Town Law, and made part of any development application occurring within the boundaries of the Town of Chili Strategic Farmland Protection Area, within the boundaries of an established Monroe County Agricultural Use District, or within 500 linear feet of property that is being actively farmed that is located within either of these two areas.
- AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS LAWS
- The rules and regulations contained within the various articles and sections of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, including, but not limited to, Articles 25-AA, 25-AAA and 25-aaaa.
- AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES
- Activities conducted by a farmer on land, that is either owned or rented, 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; and 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 maintenances of fences.
- AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
- Those products as defined in § 301, Subdivision 2, of Article 25-AA of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, including, but not limited to:
- A. Field crops, including corn, wheat, rye, barley, hay, potatoes and dry beans.
- B. Fruits, including, but not limited to, apples, peaches, grapes, cherries and berries.
- C. Vegetables, including, but not limited to, tomatoes, 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, 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.
- AGRICULTURAL TOURISM
- Activities, including the production of maple sap and pure maple products made therefrom, conducted by a farmer on-farm for the enjoyment and/or education of the public, which primarily promote the sale, marketing, production, harvesting or use of the products of the farm and enhance the public's understanding and awareness of farming and farm life.
- ESTABLISHED AGRICULTURAL AREAS
- Lands located within either:
The Monroe County Agricultural Use District; or
The Active Farmland, Farmland Protection Areas as delineated on the Town of Chili Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan Map, dated May 30, 2013, as may be amended from time to time by the Town Board.
- Any person, organization, entity, association, partnership, limited liability company, or corporation engaged in agricultural practices, whether for profit or otherwise.
- The act of engaging in agricultural practices on farmland, as defined herein.
- Land used in agricultural production, as defined in Subdivision 4 of § 301 of Article 25-AA of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.
- FARM OPERATION
- Any person, organization, entity, association, partnership or corporation engaged in farming, whether for profit or otherwise.
- GENERAL AGRICULTURAL OPERATIONS
- 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" herein.
- LAND USED IN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION
- Shall include land which is first defined in § 301 of Article 25-AA of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, as may be amended from time to time.
- MONROE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL USE DISTRICT
- The defined area of land, including the list of Tax Map parcels, as comprising an established county agricultural use district and as certified by the State Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets, for the defined eight-year period, in accordance with the provisions contained in Article 25-AA of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.
- STRATEGIC FARMLAND PROTECTION AREA
- That delineated area in southern Chili as shown on the map entitled "Town of Chili Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan, Active Farmland, Farmland Protection Area and Town Zoning," dated May 30, 2013, a part of the adopted "Town of Chili Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan," as may be amended from time to time.
Farmers, as well as those employed, retained, or otherwise authorized to act on behalf of farmers, may engage in agricultural practices within established agricultural areas in the Town of Chili at all such times 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/or improved technologies.
Agricultural practices conducted on farmland shall not be found to be a public or private nuisance if such agricultural practices are:
Reasonable to the particular farm or farm operation;
Conducted in a manner which is not negligent or reckless;
Conducted in conformity with sound agricultural practices;
Conducted 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.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to prohibit an aggrieved party from recovering damages for bodily injury or wrongful death due to a failure to follow sound agricultural practices, as outlined in this section.
Should any controversy arise regarding any inconvenience or discomfort occasioned by agricultural operations which cannot be settled by direct negotiations between the parties involved, either party shall submit, in writing, the controversy and any documentation in support of the issue to the Building Department Manager or his/her designee.
Any controversy between the parties shall be submitted to the Town Building Department Manager within 30 days of the last date of occurrence of the particular activity giving rise to the controversy or the date the party became aware of the occurrence.
The controversy shall be presented to the Building Department Manager or his/her designee by written request of one of the parties within the time limits specified. Thereafter, the Building Department Manager may investigate the facts of the controversy but must, within 30 days, render a written decision to the parties.
The decision by the Building Department Manager shall be based upon the objectives set forth in § 265-2 of this article and provide a documented rationale as to how such decision is made.
All decisions shall be filed with the Town Clerk's office and made available for public review upon demand.
In order to promote harmony between farmers and their neighbors, the Town requires land holders and/or their agents and assigns to comply with § 310 of Article 25-AA of the State Agriculture and Markets Law and to provide notice to prospective purchasers and occupants as follows: "It is the policy of the State of New York and the Town of Chili to conserve, protect and encourage the development and improvement of agricultural land for the production of food and other products and also for its natural and ecological value. This notice is to inform prospective residents that farming activities occur within the Town. Such farming activities may include, but not be limited to, activities that cause noise, dust, smoke and odor."
A copy of this notice shall be included as an addendum to the purchase and sale contract of any parcel of land located within the established Monroe County Agricultural Use District and/or land located within the delineated Strategic Farmland Protection Area, at the time an offer to purchase is made.
In addition, this notice shall be included in building permits and on plats of subdivision submitted for approval pursuant to New York State Town Law § 276.