Cheshire Planning Board
Hearing: Monday, November 26, 2018 7PM
Present: Donna M. Defino, Francis M. Griswold, Peter H. Traub, Ronald W. DeAngelis, Nick Graham, and Sandra Sloane
Nick explained the definition of trees on center in relationship to the Ayotte court case. Nick will be drawing the plan out for the CPB.
Peter motioned to accept the minutes “Ayotte/tree size” court response dated November 15, 2018; 2nd by Ron. A unanimous vote was taken. (Fran abstained.)
Peter motioned to accept the CPB meeting minutes for October 22, 2018; 2nd by Fran. A unanimous vote was taken.
Patrick M. McColgan from Taconic Land Consultants presented a Form A plan for James A. Jarvis, Sr., 108 Furnace Hill Road, Map: 106; Lot: 76 & 77; Book: 1506; Page 314 and Book: 1413, Page: 172. Marked Lot # and Lot #2. Lot #1 would be returned to Lot #2 so a shed would be back on their property. Small parcel of land to be conveyed from land of Lacasse Map 106, Lot 76 to land of Jarvis Map 106, Lot 77. Peter reviewed all bylaw requirements. Ron made a motion to approve the Form A; 2nd by Nick with a unanimous vote taken.
Family members from the ELMartin Farm presented to the CPB an overview of a farm usage proposal they may be making in the future. Kim Martin, the family spokesperson, noted that the farm has been worked as a dairy/beef farm since 1932. They now have been in contact with Whole Foods to raise organic pigs. A formal presentation was presented to the CPB explaining the pig housing in Global Animal Partnership standards. No antibiotics will be used, no added hormones will be given, no cages, crates or confinement, 100% vegetarian feed, group housing only, and all pigs are provided with deep bedding. It is an inside operation with no slaughtering or birthing.
The closest neighbor is 800 feet away and there will be no odor other than natural farm odors. One hundred piglets will come every three months and there will be no breeding on site. The manure will be mixed with cow manure and will not be spread by any rivers or streams. There will be no affect on the water quality in the area.
There was a 1973 bylaw stating that a piggery is more than one (1) pig. Attending the meeting was Mike Biagini of the Cheshire Board of Health and he noted that the BoH is responsible for the site but the Cheshire Planning Board makes the decision if it is approved or not. He requested a meeting between the two (2) boards before the CPB makes a final decision. All agreed that if an amendment was approved it would have to be very strict otherwise pig farms from one (1) to many could appear.
Since Cheshire is a Right to Farm Town, the Right to Farm Commission should be involved as well as the BoH. Kim Martin said they were in communication with the Massachusetts Farm Bureau and was aware of their stringent rulings and guidelines they would have to follow.
Donna felt it was imperative to have very restricted rules for the Cheshire Planning Board to approve a Special Permit without doing spot zoning. Conservation rules exist. It was noted that research of other Town’s would have to be done before a draft could be created and put in process for submission to go to the Cheshire Town Meeting for a vote. (Ron offered to complete research of other town’s bylaws regarding piggeries.)
Donna reminded the group that MGL 40a supersedes anything the Town does.
Sandra questioned the status of the Jayko summons and possibly a motion to dismiss.
Donna was unable to address the question as she has received no information from Town Counsel.
Being proactive, Donna asked the CPB members what other bylaw changes should be looked at. The answer was: Signs, relook at solar array farms, trailers parked at homes, bylaws that don’t make sense, and piggery farms in Williamstown, Amherst, and Franklin County. All agreed there was some cleaning up and tightening needed. All will look up 40A and become familiar with the law.
Peter updated the CPB on the status of grants through Berkshire Regional Planning Commission. A new person will be hired and will be in contact with Donna. (Complete Streets; ok, Block Grant; in-ok, Green Community; in process (Light Industrial Area) Technical Assistance; do not need, Scenic Mountain Act; (Most protected not a blanket scenic area.)
Tuesday, December 4, 2018 – 6:30pm - Second floor of the Cheshire Town Hall. CPB and BoH to discuss the pig farming in Cheshire.
There will be no CPB December 2018 meeting – unless something critical happens.
The next meeting will be: Monday, January 28, 2019 - Town Annex at 7PM.
With no further business, Ron motioned to adjourn; 2nd by Nick with a unanimous vote taken at 9:00PM.
Carole A. Hilderbrand, Cheshire Planning Board Secretary