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A tale of changing public priorities

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
Submitted for your consideration:

We are a primarily agricultural county that has a history of pride in our rural working landscape.

One of our local planning boards held two public hearings last evening. The subject town surrounds our county seat, complete with a traditional northeastern U.S. downtown. The outcome offers a rather poignant tale of where the public concerns lie:

Big Boxes 'R Us expansion of store into a "super-duper" center
  • Public Hearing lasted 30 minutes
  • Application was approved with few conditions

Organic Farm expansion
  • Use currently limited to vegetable production
  • Proposing addition of free-range organic chicken production & processing, to include composting of processing remnents.
  • Public hearing lasted 1 hour
  • Application tabled for additional information.

Oh the times, the economy and the priorities they are a changin'. (With apologies to B. Dylan) B-)
 

mgk920

Cyburbian
Messages
4,202
Points
26
SGB said:
Submitted for your consideration:

We are a primarily agricultural county that has a history of pride in our rural working landscape.

One of our local planning boards held two public hearings last evening. The subject town surrounds our county seat, complete with a traditional northeastern U.S. downtown. The outcome offers a rather poignant tale of where the public concerns lie:

Big Boxes 'R Us expansion of store into a "super-duper" center
  • Public Hearing lasted 30 minutes
  • Application was approved with few conditions

Organic Farm expansion
  • Use currently limited to vegetable production
  • Proposing addition of free-range organic chicken production & processing, to include composting of processing remnents.
  • Public hearing lasted 1 hour
  • Application tabled for additional information.

Oh the times, the economy and the priorities they are a changin'. (With apologies to B. Dylan) B-)

Let me guess, the latter was objected to by a bunch of people who recently moved in there so that they could live in the 'country' while commuting to/from their jobs in the 'city'? They come in all bright eyed over an idyllic life in a rural utopia, complete with its munti-hectare golf-course style lawn :cool:, until they get a whiff B-) of what life in the 'country' really entails 8-! and then they decide that they don't really want any more of that real 'country' air wafting their way :-#, going as far as to use zoning powers to enforce that. :p.

But OTOH, they sure do LOOOOOVE the convenience of driving the Suburban or Expedition to the Super-Duper Box when they need that stuff that they don't want the neighbors to produce. :)

Mike
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
Okay, maybe I'll be in the minority here, but I'm not sure what is so strange about this scenario. I'd rather be near a supercenter than a chicken farm as well. We have a chicken farm outside our city and it is the stinkiest land use I have yet to come across. We can smell it downtown during the summer (thankfully not every day) and the farm is quite a few miles away.

Also, with all the hysteria in B.C. over avian flu, you are lucky that your hearing was only an hour. I think a lot more people are going to have serious concerns over health issues on farms in the future.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
SGB said:
Oh the times, the economy and the priorities they are a changin'. (With apologies to B. Dylan) B-)

So you are saying 'hippies' are no longer 'good' for the economy? What a surprise! :-S ;-)
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
H said:
So you are saying 'hippies' are no longer 'good' for the economy? What a surprise! :-S ;-)

I'm not saying that at all - These farmers are great for the economy! They sell all their produce at the green markets in New York City to a distinct ethnic/cultural niche market via Community Supported Agriculture contracts! Their proposed chicken sales would be through the same arrangement.

And, as we all should know, agricultural land uses provide a net gain in property tax revenue as they demand little in the way of municipal services.
 

Jen

Cyburbian
Messages
1,704
Points
26
I am not that familiar with free range farming, I do know that confined poultry farms raise quite a stink, but what about the free range chickens? CFO's are atrocious because the animals and their waste are confined in one building with the mess hauled to a holding pen until it is disposed of or applied to the ground as fertilizer. Free range birds are not raised in filth, requiring antibiotics and pesticides to combat disease and pests. Flies are a terrible nuisance at confined pultry farms.The only terrible stink that might come from the free range operation is the composting process.

Though tabling the issue to get more info sounds appropriate if they are valid concerns that have not been addressed yet.
 

Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
Messages
1,037
Points
23
We saw a semi the other day, loaded with chicken cages. One of the most depressing things I've seen in a while--the cages were probably less than 2x2x2, stacked one on top of the other the full height of the trailer, full of miserable-looking chickens. Put me completely off chicken. :-\
 

vaughan

Cyburbian
Messages
335
Points
11
I guess I can see it from both angles here... I went to college in one of the top poultry-producing counties in the country and it made me go vegetarian for two years. I stopped the veggie lifestyle only because I started dreaming about eating fried chicken, but that's another story...

the description of the organic farm certainly makes it sound reasonable enough, and c'mon, its a predominantly ag county!

I'm siding with SGB here... I think that its a poor position we've got ourselves in when you can't open a clean agricultural operation in a predominantly agricultural area.

(Though I would take minor exception to SGB's cost of community services reference.. sure, ag operations cost governments less than they provide, but so does commercial. And commercial provides WAY more tax revenue than ag operations. I think that the COCS stuff really only applies to agricultural land turning over to residential...)
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,369
Points
29
It is curious that a farm even has to get a permit to expand in an agricultural area, though I can see that requirement if there is confined feeding. If its true free range poultry raising it would be exempt from the requirement for a permit by state law in every state I have ever worked in.

Now that I am presiding over some big boxes, and watching where our local police spend their time, I am seriously wondering if all commercial has a postiive impact on the local treasury. I have heard of Wal-Marts where the police presence actually cost more than the property taxes paid, though I can't seem to find the citation. Does anybody else have similar thoughts? any evidence?
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
SGB said:
I'm not saying that at all

it twas a joke, hence the ;).


But about all the gross meat references...your all right. Animals are tasty, but N-A-S-T-Y. Even when free range, after you get to know them...they are just not clean. After living amongst “free range” pigs in Peru for awhile I will never “dine on the swine” again. :) I eat most other animals though, but it were not so difficult and expensive I would eat only seafood. When we visit my wife’s uncle’s “exotic” animal farm in Arkansas we eat fresh animals and eggs...I cant stand em, they taste weird. I want my chems darn it! 8-!

And (to repeat others) why do organic farms have different regs than other farms? I have never seen an organic farm here is FLA. We seem to spray everything, even the workers... Seriously, I have seen crop dusters spraying fields while workers were picking. Sad. :(
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
Lee Nellis said:
It is curious that a farm even has to get a permit to expand in an agricultural area.....

Site plan review is required under the local law because they are adding two structures needed to support the expanded ag operations. If they were merely adding a flock of free-range chickens to be processed off site, no review would be needed.

Furthermore, this particular Town has no zoning regulations, thus no required seperation of uses, setbacks, etc. The majority of the public concerns are from the adjancent neighborhood, which just happens to be in the next muncipality!

Ahhhh, the joys of rural planning! :D
 
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