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Town considers code change to allow farms to process on site

The Agricultural Advisory Committee proposed code changes to permitted uses in the Agricultural-Conservation and R80 zones to allow processing on farms.

The proposed change would allow for a building no larger than 3,200 square feet to be used for on-farm processing without being subject to site plan review. The board also discussed the requirement of at least 51 percent of goods used for this processing to be sourced from Long Island. Processing could include salsa produced from tomatoes, potato chips and other similar products.

Chris Baiz, chairman of the committee, said that allowing processing on farms would “bring the agricultural lands up to the same level of a playing field that the vineyard and winery industry presently enjoy and has enjoyed for the last 40 years.”

If a farm wants a larger production facility, then it would have to go through the town’s variance and site plan process.

The proposed code change would also allow buildings for direct marketing, otherwise known as farm stands or retail sales area, no larger than 3,200 square feet to be constructed without requiring a site plan.

There is a hardship clause that would alleviate the 51 percent rule in case of unforeseen circumstances; however, the board and the agriculture committee must come to an agreement on regulations and details.

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