Letter: Farming is a business — Westport should treat it as such

Posted 11/6/19

To the editor:

A farm is a business.  The Town of Westport not only has the right, but the obligation, to regulate the businesses located within it’s boundaries for the good of the entire …

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Letter: Farming is a business — Westport should treat it as such

Posted

To the editor:

A farm is a business.  The Town of Westport not only has the right, but the obligation, to regulate the businesses located within it’s boundaries for the good of the entire community. 

Yet, Westport farmers loudly assert that Westport’s Right to Farm by-law makes them exempt from any regulation by the Town of Westport, and some even assert that it justifies their disregard for any town law or regulation that they don’t care to comply with. 

Obviously, Westport’s Right to Farm by-law does not support these interpretations, but in Westport these interpretations have been ascendant for so long that even those responsible for insuring compliance with Westport’s laws and regulations bought into them; which is why the Medeiros farm tragedy was able to occur — twice. 

Listening to Westport farmers, one would think that no barn book violation had even been found on a Westport farm, and that no Westport farm animal had ever been kept in less than optimal conditions.  That is also obviously untrue. The state inspections, limited as they are, continue to find violations on Westport farms, and always will.

Regardless of what the Westport Right to Farm by-law actually says, as long as Westport farmers, and even the Agricultural Commission, a Westport agency that should know better, insist on interpreting Westport’s Right to Farm by-law to mean that Westport farmers cannot be regulated, and are, in fact, above the law, then the time has come to rescind the Westport Right to Farm by-law; especially now that Westport is starting to experience the adverse consequences of the ill-considered expansion of that by-law by the only-in-Westport “Agri-entertainment” amendment.

Rud Lawrence

Westport

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