[HISTORY: Adopted by Dutchess County as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Agricultural districts — See Agriculture and Markets Law Art. 25-AA.
Environmental quality review — See Environmental Conservation Law Art. 8.
Lands in agricultural districts; disclosure — See Real Property Law Art. 9, § 333-c.
[Adopted 7-15-2019 by L.L. No. 3-2019]
The Dutchess County Legislature recognizes farming is an essential enterprise and an important industry which enhances the economic base, natural environment, and quality of life in Dutchess County.
The Legislature declares that it shall be the policy of this County to encourage agriculture and foster understanding by all residents of the necessary day-to-day operations involved in farming, so as to encourage cooperation with those practices.
It is the general purpose and intent of this article to maintain and preserve the agricultural character of the County, to protect the existence and operation of farms, to permit the continuation of agricultural practices, to encourage the initiation and expansion of farms and agribusiness, and to promote new ways to resolve disputes concerning agricultural practices and farm operations.
The County encourages and supports local adoption of the agricultural data statement requirements as prescribed in New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Law Article 25-AA, § 305-b.
In order to maintain a vibrant farming economy in the County of Dutchess, it is necessary to limit the circumstances under which farming may be deemed to be a nuisance, and to allow agricultural practices inherent to and necessary for the business of farming to proceed and be undertaken free of unreasonable and unwarranted interference or restriction.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A business involved in the producing operations of a farm, the manufacture or distribution of farm equipment or farm supplies, or the processing, storage, or distribution of farm commodities.
- AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES
- Those practices necessary for the production, preparation, and marketing of agricultural products. Practices include but are not limited to: operation of farm equipment, crop production methods, the proper use of pest and disease management practices, and the construction and use of farm structures.
- AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
- Those products as defined in Article 25-AA, § 301, Subdivision 2, of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Law.
- FARM OPERATION
- Shall be defined in accordance with Article 25-AA, § 301, Subdivision 11, of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.
- Any person, organization, entity, association, partnership, limited liability company, or corporation engaged in the business of farming, including but not limited to: the cultivation of land, the raising of crops, or the raising of livestock.
- The act of engaging in a farm operation and/or agricultural practices.
- RIGHT-TO-FARM DISPUTE RESOLUTION COMMITTEE (or COMMITTEE)
- The Chair of the Dutchess County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board or their representative from the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board), the Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development Commissioner (or their representative) and one representative from the New York State Agricultural Mediation Program.
Farmers, as well as those employed, retained, or otherwise authorized to act on behalf of farmers, may always lawfully engage in agricultural practices on property enrolled in a state-certified agricultural district within the County at all times.
Agricultural practices shall not be found to be a public or private nuisance if such agricultural practices are:
Conducted on property enrolled in a state-certified agricultural district;
Conducted in conformity with generally accepted and sound agricultural practices;
Conducted in a manner which is reasonable and necessary to the particular farm operation:
The time, place, methodology, and traditional customs and procedures in the farming industry and advances resulting from increased knowledge, research, and improved technologies shall be considered when determining the reasonability and necessity;
Conducted in a manner which is not negligent or reckless;
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 the health or safety of any person;
Conducted in a manner which does not reasonably obstruct the free passage or use of navigable waters or public roadways.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to prohibit an aggrieved party from recovering from damages for bodily injury or wrongful death due to a failure to follow sound agricultural practices, as outlined in this section.
A farming-activity-related complaint which cannot be settled by direct negotiation between the parties involved may be submitted to the Right-to-Farm Dispute Resolution Committee in an attempt to resolve the matter prior to or, if desired, alternatively to the filing of any court action or request for a determination by the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets about whether the agricultural practice in question is sound pursuant to Article 25-AA, § 308, of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.
Any dispute shall be submitted in writing to the Committee within 30 days of the last date of occurrence of the particular activity giving rise to the dispute or the date the party became aware of the occurrence.
The Committee may investigate the facts of the dispute and shall, within 25 days of receipt of a complaint, hold a meeting at a mutually agreed place and time to consider the merits of the matter.
During the meeting, the Committee shall endeavor to have a full discussion of the dispute after a complete presentation of all pertinent facts concerning the dispute, in order to eliminate any misunderstandings and to enhance the effectiveness of the Committee as a forum for the resolution of disputes. The parties are encouraged to cooperate in the exchange of pertinent information concerning the dispute.
Both parties shall have an opportunity to present what each considers to be pertinent facts.
No party bringing a complaint to the Committee for settlement or resolution may be represented by counsel unless the opposing party is also represented by counsel.
Within 10 business days of the meeting, the Committee shall render a written decision to the parties.
The time limits provided in this section for action by the Committee may be extended upon a written agreement of all parties involved in the dispute.
Any reasonable costs associated with the function of the Committee process shall be borne by the participants.
To encourage the use of this mechanism to resolve disputes, the parties requesting to utilize this dispute resolution process shall stipulate, in writing, that the statements made during the process shall be deemed to be in the nature of settlement discussions and that such statements and any agreement reached as part of the dispute resolution process shall not be used for evidentiary purposes in any other action or proceeding.
The decision of the Committee shall not be binding.
The prospective grantor shall comply with Article 25-AA, § 310, of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, which requires that a disclosure notice be provided to the prospective grantee of real property located partially or wholly within an agricultural district.
When any purchase and sale contract is presented for the sale, purchase, or exchange of real property located within 500 feet of the boundary lines of real property enrolled in an agricultural district, the prospective grantor shall present to the prospective grantee a disclosure notice.
Said disclosure notice shall be found in Article 25-AA, § 310, Subdivision 1, of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law: "It is the policy of this state and this community 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 disclosure notice is to inform prospective residents that the property they are about to acquire lies partially or wholly within an agricultural district and that farming activities occur within the district. Such farming activities may include, but not be limited to, activities that cause noise, dust and odors. Prospective residents are also informed that the location of property within an agricultural district may impact the ability to access water and/or sewer services for such property under certain circumstances. Prospective purchasers are urged to contact the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to obtain additional information or clarification regarding their rights and obligations under article 25-AA of the Agriculture and Markets Law."
Receipt of such notice shall be recorded on a property transfer report form prescribed by the Commissioner of Taxation and Finance as provided for in § 333-c of the Real Property Law.
It is hereby determined, pursuant to the provisions of the State Environmental Quality Review Act § 8-0101 et seq., and its implementing regulations, Part 617 of 6 NYCRR, that the adoption of this article is a "Type II" action within the meaning of § 617.5(c)(26) and (33) of 6 NYCRR, and, accordingly, is of a class of actions which do not have a significant impact on the environment and no further review is required. [6 NYCRR § 617.5(c)(26) and (33) apply to: "County-owned or -leased routine or continuing agency administration and management, not including new programs or major reordering of priorities that may affect the environment" and "§ 301, Subdivision 2, adoption of regulations, policies, procedures, and local legislative decisions in connection with any action on this list."]
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section, or part of this article or the application thereof to any person, individual, corporation, firm, partnership, entity, or circumstance shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unconstitutional, such order or judgment shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section, or part of this article, or in its application to the person, individual, corporation, firm, partnership, entity, or circumstance directly involved in the controversy in which such order or judgment shall be rendered.
This article and its provisions are in addition to all other applicable laws, rules, and regulations.
This article shall be effective immediately upon filing with the New York State Secretary of State.