Sept. 9, 2009: Explaining the Seasonal Produce Law

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To The Editor:
Soon we will have a vote concerning the proposed Seasonal Produce Stand law. Before the town board votes, I want the public to be aware of the issue.
When I took office last year, Gina Reilly, hired as the new Zoning Enforcement Officer (ZEO) who was the prior ZEO Glen Miller’s secretary, went after outstanding violations issued from Glen Miller. One of those in violation was a roadside farm stand business, in a residential zone, which has been non-complaint with the law for the past two administrations.
When reviewing the problem, the thinking was that the law might be too restrictive. It allowed for just a 10-foot by 10-foot space, selling just produce from a farm owned by the farm stand operator. There was never a discussion to “shut anyone down.” Rather, the town board created a committee to draft a new Seasonal Produce Stand law that would be less restrictive. The committee was comprised of Vin Bernstein, town board, Rolf Reiss, zoning board of appeals, Joan Munster and John Horn, both planning board members, and Gina Reilly, ZEO. They drafted a law that expanded the size from 100 square feet to 2,000 square feet. In addition to produce, the new law specified that prepared foods and plants could also be sold.
Considering that our zoning code forbids “retail sales” in residential zones and that most of Route 28 is zoned residential to keep it scenic, this new draft law is super business friendly, especially considering an applicant can apply for variances on hours of operation, season of operation, and size of operation. Please be aware this law is for residential zones, not for just Route 28, but for all roads throughout town. This could be next to your home.
The proposed law has seen extensive public and legal review and has been approved by the county and town planning boards. Go to our Web site www.shandaken.us and navigate to the notices page to see the draft law for yourself. Whether this law passes or not, is based on the input from residents to the town board as that is how we arrive at decisions. If the new law does not pass, the original Roadside Farm Stand law will remain the law of our town.

Peter DiSclafani, Supervisor
Town of Shandaken