[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Albion as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 3-8-2004 by L.L. No. 1-2004]
It is hereby found and declared by the Town Board of the Town of Albion 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 that 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 the Town of Albion encourages agriculture and requests that residents 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 Albion to permit the continuation of agricultural practices and the businesses of farming, and to encourage the initiation and expansion of farms and agricultural business. 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 of restrictions.
The Town Board, in an effort to promote and foster a harmonious relationship between the residents of the Town of Albion 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 Albion to provide reasonable notice to prospective landowners that farming activities may occur on neighboring lands.
Unless specifically defined below, words or phrases used in this article shall be interpreted so as to give them the meaning they have in common usage and to give this article its most reasonable and effective application. As used in this article, 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 parcel or multiple, contiguous or noncontiguous parcels which together represent all the real property within the boundaries of the Town of Albion currently used for agriculture 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.
- AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES
- All activities conducted on a farm which are necessary to the operation of the farm, including but not limited to the cultivation of land; the raising of crops; the raising of livestock, beef, animals, dairy and poultry; stables and horse-boarding facilities; horticulture, timber, fur-bearing animals; the production, whether for sale to others or home use or consumption, of plants and animals, fruits, vegetables 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 commodities.
- A. Agricultural practices shall also include any activity now permitted by law, engaged in, by or on behalf of a farmer, in connection with and in 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 and use of legally permitted fertilizers, limes, insecticides, herbicides and fungicides, all in accordance with local, state and federal law and in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and warnings; construction of farm structures and facilities as permitted by local law and state building code regulations; 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 agriculture practices.
- B. The following examples are intended to be illustrative of common agriculture practices covered within this definition, but are not inclusive:
- (1) Providing for the wholesale and retail marketing (including so-called “you pick” marketing) and sales of the agricultural output of the farm and related products that contribute to farm income, including the sale at the owner's farm stand of agricultural products, so long as at least 75% of the annual gross sales of the farm stand have been grown on said farm.
- (2) Replenishing soil nutrients, including but not limited to the spreading of manure and applying approved chemical and organic fertilizers.
- (3) Using federally approved products, in accordance with label instructions, as recommended by the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for the control of pests, predators, varmints and diseases affecting plants and livestock and for the control of weed infestation.
- (4) Transporting large, slow-moving equipment over roads within the Town of Albion, in accordance with local, state and federal law and regulations.
- (5) Clearing of woods using accepted techniques, installing and maintaining vegetative and terrain alterations, and physical facilities for water and soil conservation and surface water control.
- C. 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, day or night.
- Shall include livestock, beef, dairy, poultry, fur-bearing animal, agricultural, fruit, vegetable, and field crop farms, plantations, orchards, nurseries, greenhouses, or other similar operations used primarily for the raising of agricultural or horticultural commodities.
- Any person, organization, entity, association, partnership or corporation engaged in the 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.
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 Albion at any and all such times and at all such locations as are reasonably necessary to carry on an agricultural farm operation of 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 and procedures in the agricultural industry as well as to advances resulting from increased knowledge or improved technologies.
No agricultural practices 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 or those approved by the County of Orleans Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board, herein and hereafter referral 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 a 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 Albion
Noncompliance with any provisions of this article shall not affect the title to real property, nor prevent the recording of any document. Violation of any provision of this article may constitute an offense punishable by a fine 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 article may be brought in a Court of competent jurisdiction by an aggrieved entity and/or the Town of Albion.
Should any controversy arise regarding any inconvenience or discomfort arising out of or occasioned by any agricultural practices or agricultural operations, the matter shall be referred to the Town of Albion Code Enforcement Officer. When a problem arises, the Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) would act as an impartial mediator between the two parties. If there is no resolution, the CEO would then invoke the Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC).
The AAC shall be comprised of each chairperson from the following boards: Town Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board, the CEO, and one individual who is engaged on a full-time basis in agricultural farm operation. If a chairperson needs to recuse himself/herself, then that person will designate an alternate from that same board to replace the chairperson's position on the AAC. No, member of the AAC will be a party to or have any personal investment in the dispute.
Any complaint with respect to agricultural practices or agricultural operationsshaill be submitted to the AAC in writing, within 20 days of the occurence of the activity or activities giving rise to the complaint. Within 30 days of its receipt of a written complaint, the AAC shall hold a public hearing to consider the matter. Notice of the public hearing shall be published in the Town's official newspaper at least five days in advance of the hearing, and a copy of the notice shall be mailed to each of the parties to the controversy.
At the public hearing, the AAC shall hear testimony from the parties to the controversy and from any other interested persons. The effectiveness of the AAC as a forum for the resolution of disputes is dependent upon full disclosure and discussion of all pertinent facts pertaining to the dispute. To that end, the parties are encouraged to cooperate in the exchange of all pertinent information with respect to the controversy. The AAC shall also be authorized to conduct such independent investigations into the matter as the AAC deems appropriate. Within 20 days after the public hearing, the AAC shall tender a written report and recommendation and mail copies to both parties and to the Town Board.
If either party to the controversy disagrees with the AAC's report and recommendation, that party may pursue other legal remedies.