[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of New Lebanon as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 7-10-2006 by L.L. No. 2-2006; amended in its entirety 11-10-2020 by L.L. No. 3-2020]
It is hereby found and declared by the Town Board of the Town of New Lebanon that agriculture lands are irreplaceable assets. To that end, the Town Board affirms that farming is an essential activity. Farming, as defined in this article, 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 be understanding of the necessary day-to-day operations associated with agricultural land use.
It is the general purpose and intent of this article to maintain and preserve the rural tradition and character of the Town of New Lebanon, to permit the continuation of agriculture practices and the business of farming 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 article 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 New Lebanon, and to conserve, protect and encourage the development and improvement of agriculture land for the production of food and other products, hereby declares that it shall be the policy of the Town of New Lebanon to provide reasonable notice to prospective landowners that farming activities may occur on neighboring lands.
Except as provided in Subsection B, below, words or phrases used in this article shall be interpreted so as to give them the meanings they have in common usage and to give this article its most reasonable and effective application.
Terms used in this article shall have the meanings set forth in § 301 of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, except as may be specifically defined below:
- 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 New Lebanon currently used for agriculture farm operations or upon which agriculture practices are being utilized or upon which agriculture farm operations or agriculture practices may in the future be established or utilized.
Farmers, as well as those employed or otherwise authorized to act on behalf of farmers, may lawfully engage in farm operations within the Town of New Lebanon at any and all such times and at all such locations as are reasonably necessary to carry on a farm operation. In determining the reasonableness of the time, place and methodology of such operation, due weight and consideration shall be given to both traditional customs and procedures 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 New Lebanon.
Noncompliance with any provision of this article shall not affect title to real property nor prevent the recording of any document. Violation of any provision of this article may constitute an offense punishable by law with a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $250 for each day's violation or continuation of the violation.
In addition, an action to restrain or enjoin any violation of this article may be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction by an aggrieved entity and/or the Town of New Lebanon.
Agricultural data statement. As prescribed in New York State Agriculture and Markets Law Article 25-AA, § 305-b, the following requirements for agricultural data statements shall apply:
Submission; evaluation. Any application for a special use permit, site plan approval, use variance, or subdivision approval that would occur on property within an agricultural district containing a farm operation or on property with boundaries within 500 feet of a farm operation located in an agricultural district shall include an agricultural data statement. The board reviewing such application shall evaluate and consider the agricultural data statement in its review of the possible impacts of the proposed project upon the functioning of farm operations within such agricultural district.
Notice provision. Upon the receipt of such application by the appropriate board, the clerk of such board shall mail written notice of such application to the owners of land as identified by the applicant in the agricultural data statement. The notice shall include a description of the proposed project and its location and may be sent in conjunction with any other notice required by law. The cost of mailing the notice shall be borne by the applicant.
Content. An agricultural data statement shall include the following information: the name and address of the applicant; a description of the proposed project and its location; the name and address of any owner of land within the agricultural district, which land contains farm operations and is located within 500 feet of the boundary of the property upon which the project is proposed; and a tax map or other map showing the site of the proposed project relative to the location of farm operations identified in the agricultural data statement.
All noncommercial farm activity should conform to sound agricultural practices as defined by the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law and applicable guidance from the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets.