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Grand Island Town Board: Agricultural animal law passes

Fri, May 5th 2017 05:15 pm

By Larry Austin

Island Dispatch Editor

Island farmers in the town's agriculture district no longer need certain permits to operate, after action was taken at Monday's Town Board meeting.

The board passed a local law, No. 2 of 2017, regarding agricultural animals in county-adopted, state-certified agricultural districts. The law says in part, "Neither an agricultural animal permit nor a special use permit for the keeping of agricultural animals shall be required as a condition of keeping any 'agricultural animals.'"

The law also says, "All other physical, dimensional, siting, setback and other requirements and the substantive standards for the keeping of agricultural animals set forth in the Town of Grand Island code shall continue to apply."

Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray said after the meeting, "We won't have people coming in and apply for a special use because it's not a special use. It's an integral use with the territory." He added that the council had debated the matter for a year.

The proposal passed by a vote of 4-0 without debate.

"The fact that they all voted for it tonight is nearly a miracle, but it only represents 14 months of warfare," McMurray said, laughing.

"The record speaks for itself. When you look at the legislative history before I came into office, it was not embracing farming," McMurray said. He pointed out farming is part of Grand Island's history. Lewis Allen, for whom Allentown is named, had a large farm on the south end of the Island, McMurray said.

"Everything old is new again, and to have the farming back on Grand Island is a great thing," he said.

McMurray said an event planned for Saturday, Farmer Fest, will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 555 Ransom Road, the location of a re-opening farm operation.

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