Zoning Issues- PLEASE READ
Consider the littleGrasse landscape. The gardens, the animals, the occasional traffic. Is this compatible amidst a residential zone? Can our zoning rules allow for community-minded agriculture within the areas intended for, 'orderly residential development'?
Well, you may not be surprised to hear our perspective. To us it's not only compatible but an ideal neighbor; providing healthy food, open space, and diverse activities throughout the season.
As it stands, in an R-1 zone any land within 250' from the center line of the road is restricted, and does not allow for agricultural use (among other things). Currently 2 miles of Outer Miner Street Road starting at the bridge, is one of just a couple areas outside the Village zoned R1. Last season these rules defined our choices in terms of the placement of both the chickens (in the lower gardens) and the pigs (off the road, on the edge of the woods). In order to make better use of our open front fields and integrate the chickens into the upper gardens, we approached the code enforcement officer prior to last season (in 2011), and were led to believe that they were working on an amendment to the zoning in R1 areas that would positively affect us and others currently zoned R1. We were told to hold off until this season, and then apply for a "special use" permit. This application process would allow us to make our case and the Town would schedule a public comment meeting before voting on the matter.
As it turns out, when we approached them via application this spring regarding the livestock they claimed that not only were the animals not allowed, but neither were the vegetables, as per zoning.
In the mean time we discovered that the town has a plan in the works to expand their R1 zones into other roads, which would affect 168 parcels. This new zoning would also expand the 250 from center line of road to 500 ft. This move to limit town land use and directly impede food production in our Community flies in the face of reason and the national trend toward saving viable agricultural land and its production.
We've talked with many of our neighbors, and heard almost unanimous support. We've been in ongoing discussions with the town, and are trying to work out a solution. While this process has been daunting, we remain hopeful for change: whether it be through a special use permit or an exemption. A longer road may involve a lawyer. We shall see. This is a developing and detail-heavy political situation. Trust that we are trying to give as much info possible without overwhelming you. As new and critical information becomes available we'll pass it along.
Feel free to ask questions regarding this bump in the road.
We have not been fined or told to stop.
For now, we'll keep on keepin' on.
P.S. There is a Town Board Meeting on Monday the 14th at 4pm in the Municipal building at 60 Main Street, Canton. They will likely not discuss our situation directly. The agenda will include discussion about current zoning and rezoning proposals. We'll be there along with many others. Public is welcome, yourself included.
Politics, Politics, Politics!