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Concerned About Farm Animals

Unresolved issues postpone public hearing on animal law

by Heather Plonchak
May 12, 2010 02:05 PM | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Trustee Kelly Myers is heading up the effort to overhaul the village's animal control and husbandry law.
Trustee Kelly Myers is heading up the effort to overhaul the village's animal control and husbandry law.
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Work on the village's animal control and husbandry law continued last week, as trustees debated sections of the law regarding farm animals. Revisions are being done to other areas as well as per public feedback, said trustee Kelly Myers. A public hearing had been tentatively set for May 17, but that hearing was postponed to allow for further changes, and to give new trustee Patrick Landewe (see sidebar) a chance to participate in crafting the law.

Myers said the concerns over farm animals come from people opposed to the idea of living in close proximity to livestock. She said the town is dealing with the issues that surround working farms through its Right to Farm law, but in the village the situation is different.



"We are not proposing the same type of law the town has at all," said Myers.



The proposed law, in its most recent form, does not encourage farming, but does make allowances. For example, it states that up to six chickens may be housed on a .75 acre parcel. In addition, in order to protect neighbors from disturbances, a 30-foot setback from property lines will be required for all aviaries and cages for birds. Trustees had concluded at a previous meeting that no animal over 150lbs should be allowed, but Myers said a state law allows property owners with at least seven acres to apply for an "agricultural assessment" which, if granted, would supersede the law.



Myers says that village attorney Alex Betke is looking into the legality of the process, as the village board may not have the right to deny a large farm animal in the face of state law.



Myers also says that the complaint procedure has been clarified, and complaints regarding animals in the village would be made to the village clerk and would then be investigated by the village code enforcement officer, Eyal Saad. Saad would have the authority to demand the immediate removal of animals in situations that violate health and safety regulations. If an animal poses an immediate threat, the complaint procedure may be bypassed and the police should be contacted.



Landewe stated that the language in the law should be revised because it contains repetitive and ambiguous language. A final draft is expected at the May 17 Village Board meeting.



INFRASTRUCTURE GRANTS AWARDED, SOUGHT

The village has received an $800,000 federal appropriation for the relining of sewer lines which are deteriorating due to age. Village officials originally expected to receive the money soon after federal approval, but have recently been informed that the money will be included in a matching grant from New York State. Village grant writer Victor Cornelius is now seeking funds for additional projects that may be included in matching the $800,000 grant. Discussion on the projects included the possibility of building a smaller retaining reservoir near the village water plant, to avoid shutting the plant down during periods of heavy rain, and the possibility of building an engineered wetlands near the North Street landfill, to combat iron floc and other forms of pollution in that area.



A feasibility study is currently underway to explore whether an engineered wetlands would be a viable option for addressing problems created by the landfill. An engineering study will be conducted by the Bridgehampton based firm, Renewage. Engineered wetlands is considered a green, sustainable technology, and could put the village in position to receive grant monies for developing such technology.



The village is also awaiting funding for the ongoing Streetscape project, which includes the replacement of streetlamps and creation of decorative paved crosswalks throughout the business district. The project is being funded by the New York State Department of Transportation, and the Village Board voted Monday evening to approve a contract revision initiated by the DOT. Originally, 80 percent of the project was to be funded by the DOT, with the village paying 20 percent of the total cost. The new contract raises the DOT's contribution to 95 percent, leaving the village to pay only 5 percent of the $920,000 total cost of the project.



The next meeting of the Village Board will be held on Monday, May 17 at 7 p.m. at village hall, 43 Partition Street.

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