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LETTER: When is a Farm Exempt? - 'Here a Sty, There a Sty, Everywhere a Pig Sty'

Dear Editor:

Regarding the Planning Board decision of March 14 to exempt all farms from zoning and special permits. State law 40A and Sec. 3 appears to exempt farms larger than five acres. Those below five acres are fully covered by all regulations. Unless the Planning Board changes the language of its exemption, it would not be legal. They can't make an exemption contrary to state law. According to Attorney Robert Collins in a letter to the ZBA in 1996, 40A and Sec. 3 may be interpreted broadly unless the Planning Board can change the whole zoning book.

218-5 prohibited uses: May still apply if a farm creates a fire hazard, offensive noise, smoke, vibration, harmful radioactivity, electrical interference, dust odor, fumes, heat, glare, unsightliness or other objectionable characteristics. Part B of 218-5 prohibited uses: The law states the following uses are expressly prohibited: Tourist cabins and mobile home parks, piggeries of more than 15 pigs, junk yards, drive-in theaters, massage parlors, public dance halls and drive-through food and beverage windows.

The Planning Board would drop the 15-pig law entirely allowing a pig sty in any zone in the town. This would ruin the abutters property values. Just imagine thousands of pigs next to your house, or, a thousand horses, goats, cows. This whole thing is ridiculous. Allowing farms in any zone in the town is ludicrous.

I would urge a 'no' vote on this article. The present laws do not unreasonably restrict a farm.

Robert Stephens

W. Main Street

Groton Herald

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