No subscription needed for Obituaries and Public Notices      

Less Restrictive Bylaws Proposed For Farms

Groton Planning Board is presenting three zoning amendment articles to April 22 Annual Spring Town Meeting, including some major changes to the schedule of regulations of the farming bylaw in order to bring Groton regulations into compliance with the state agriculture regulations. Many state agricultural regulations are less restrictive than long-standing town bylaws and have the potential to lead to neighborhood disagreements. In addition, there are articles for modifying water district maps, and revising locations of the districts.

The amended Groton agricultural bylaw eliminates the current requirement of granting a special permit because state regulations prohibit a special permit. This will give farmers the right - without a special permit - to provide agricultural labor housing; to raise or keep horses, goats, sheep, cattle, pigs, poultry or other domesticated animals for food; to have riding stables; to have barns or stables for breeding, boarding, hiring or sale of animals; and the right to have a roadside stand for the sale of locally grown produce.

West Main Street resident Robert Stephens told the Planning Board public hearing that he felt that this would "open a can of worms" with neighbors of farms, and said he felt that "farm buildings constructed in flood plains, and no limit on the number of pigs was a bad idea."

Agriculture Committee member and Groton farmer Meredith Scarlett replied, "The state law says you cannot regulate the number of pigs." She added that the limitation to 15 pigs in the town's current bylaw was just an arbitrary number.

Stephens said he was concerned that this amendment "relaxed regulations too much. I am concerned that a large number of pigs could move in next to a home."

Scarlett, along with Planning Board Chairman John Giger, stressed that this amendments would simply bring Groton bylaws into conformance with state law. There is no limit on the number of pigs in state law.

In addition the amendment would permit commercial greenhouses, and in business and manufacturing zones, commercial dog kennel, although a special permit would be required for kennels in residential/agricultural and residential/business districts.

This amendment was brought forward a year ago by Groton Agriculture Commission, but at that time met some pushback from the Planning Board. The two groups then worked together along with the Board of Health to craft the amendment they will present to Town Meeting.

Groton Herald

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 610, Groton, Massachusetts 01450

145 Main Street, Groton, Massachusetts 014510
[Prescott Community Center]

Telephone: 978-448-6061

Comment Here