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Revised Right to Farm Ordinance ‘is now clearer’

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KENT—A revised ordinance for the Right to Farm will be presented at the Jan. 18 town meeting set for 7 p.m. at town hall.

The Conservation Commission has reworked the existing ordinance and has had it reviewed by town counsel.

Commission Chairman Connie Manes told the Board of Selectmen Jan. 11 that the new wording is designed to make clear the purpose of the ordinance.

“This ordinance is not new,” she said. “It is something the Conservation Commission helped create in 2015, but the Northwest Hills Council of Government recommended an update.”

She said the problem lies in the fact that the ordinance “confused almost everyone.”

Written to protect farmers from nuisance complaints about ordinary agricultural operations that produce noise, smells and dust, it has instead been used to file complaints against farmers.

“It was specifically to protect farmers, but some people read it that they can file a complaint,” Manes said, observing that Kent does not have a methodology to bring such complaints against any other residents.

“It’s almost like farmers are being jeopardized by an ordinance meant to protect them,” she said.

The Conservation Commission renamed the ordinance to state it is for the Protection of Farms and Farmers from Nuisance Claims and the first paragraph proclaims it to be farm friendly.

The second paragraph specifically says it is not to enable residents to file complaints.

“We feel it is now clearer and expresses the purpose of the ordinance,” Manes told the selectmen, who agreed and cleared it for the call of the Town Meeting.

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