Farm Wounded in Battle

Start song! Don't Mess With My Popeyes

 

We’ve attended two board meetings in the last 8 days regarding our dock application.  At the work session last week,  members of the board asked me about my already permitted upwellers in Widow’s Hole.  After first noting that the upwellers were not on the permit under discussion, I told them that the upwellers use a half horse pump encased in oil, then submerged 2 feet below the surface of the water.  I stated that I cannot hear them when I plug them in, that I must see the water issuing from the pumps to know if they are on.  That’s when standing directly atop them.  So I questioned how neighbors 300 feet away could hear them and at what decibel level.

The mayor tried to steer the discussion toward the neighbors’ complaint about a farm in a area zoned R2.  The one trustee most negative demanded a business plan but was silenced by another who said this is a dock permit and the farm has been running for 12 years.

We invited all the trustees over for a site visit.  Initially, the mayor said he would arrange it.  Then, a day before the work session, he reneged.   However, no opposition spoke at the work session.  The only ominous comment was the mayor’s about the ‘elephant in the room.’  At conclusion of the meeting, the mayor said he would offer the resolution as stated in the approved DEC permit.

Kids began their Christmas holiday on Friday, three days after the work session.  We bought tickets to Glass Menagerie, Peter and the Star Catcher, Radio City Christmas Extravaganza, and Macbeth.  We took our bikes in and cycled around Manhattan between plays.  It was a great relief from our neighborhood woes.

Yesterday evening, we drove back out to Greenport to attend the board meeting where the vote was scheduled.  One of our main backers on the board was on vacation.  We took the kids to watch small town government in action.  The mayor moved our resolution to the front of the agenda.  Trustee Roberts continued her attack on our entire operation, mentioning the van we load from the dock could be an illegal act, even though she and the mayor both run businesses out of their house, loading and unloading their vans.  She moved to table the resolution, but that died for lack of a second.  She is a junior real estate agent in Jill Dunbar’s office, the woman who instigated the attack on our farm.  The mayor’s wife also works in that office.

The mayor offered an verbal amendment to our resolution.  I heard it as stating that we must ‘move the rest of our operation, exclusive of the upwellers in Widow’s Hole, to the new dock.’  That was passed and so was the amended resolution.  I asked them to explain, and the board remained mute, I asked the village lawyer for a written copy of the amendment and he was silent.  The mayor said I could pick it up from the clerk the next day.  Our permit application has a detailed plan of what we plan to move to the new dock.  ‘The rest’ of operation does not fit there, simply the sorting machine and room for the cages being processed.  I feel this is an attempt to limit our usage of our upland property.

At 8 this morning I called the Albany office of NY Department of Agriculture.  We are in the Suffolk County Ag District and they have certified all our upland property as a farm.  The agent was very helpful, but like me, he needs a written copy of what was passed.  I also spoke to one of our lawyers, who filed this farm status for us and she wanted the amended resolution and the minutes.

At nine this morning I went to the clerk’s office and they had nothing.  I told the assistant clerk I had 30 days to appeal, starting from last night’s vote.  She began trying to contact the stenographer and the village lawyer.  I filed a FOIL request for the resolution and the minutes, with copies to be sent to my lawyer.  Of course, since it’s Christmas Eve, nothing may happen for days, perhaps a week.  And the clock is ticking on my 30 days to appeal this resolution, a so-called article 72 filing with the NY Supreme Court.

I went to the fence along my complaining neighbors’ yards and threw over to their side all the boards and stones and metal they had secured on my side to make paths into my yard.  Machete-ed down a weed or two, to get a better view of how to landscape that boundary.

Kids woke up late this morning.  We’re all packing to go skiing in Lake Placid.  Stopping at friends house tonight for a Polish Christmas Eve:  wild mushroom pierogis in cold clear borscht soup, card and a communion host.  Have to round up some oysters and scallops to complete the meatless feast.
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