Thursday afternoon, the full Erie County Legislature voted in favor of adding approximately 40 properties on Grand Island in an agricultural district.
According to Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, the list of properties included in the Amherst 17 District coincides with the recommendations of the Erie County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board, with the exception of the one property that was excluded at the request of its owners.
The Erie County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board recommended the inclusion of a Ransom Road property over the recommendation of the Erie County Health Department, which stated the property owner had been charged with violations of the Erie County Sanitary Code and should not be included in the district.
"It did include the property on Ransom Road that I originally was opposed to including in the district," Hardwick said of the legislature's approval. "This change of heart was the result of further investigation, including my personal visits to several of the property's neighbors this past weekend."
Approximately 40 Grand Island farmers sought inclusion in the Amherst Agricultural District. All approved applications will be forwarded to the New York State Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets for eight-year certification. Applicants had said inclusion in an agriculture district would protect their right to farm.
The previous Town Board, Hardwick said, sent a letter, through the town attorney, to the Erie County Legislature, recommending that none of the properties be included in an agricultural district.