Letters to the editor: Farmers say no to zoning updates

We, the farmers of the town of Ulysses, universally oppose the draft zoning law as proposed by the Zoning Update Steering Committee. We are a diverse group ranging from large scale CAFOs to small scale certified organic vegetable farms. Because of this diversity, the specific objections that we have are many and nuanced, and there is no doubt some disagreement amongst us about which proposed changes are the most objectionable to us.

Simply put, this draft proposal is not an improvement over current zoning law. This law makes agriculture less viable in the town through increased regulatory and design standards while also reducing value of our assets through overly complicated and inflexible development rights restrictions.

That the farmers of the town universally oppose this law is a clear indication that the steering committee and consultants have wandered astray from their goal of farmland protection, or do not prioritize it. We believe that this has happened because of a flawed process that has deliberately excluded and dismissed farmer input into the drafting of this law, and through a misguided focus of preventing development patterns that simply do not exist in the town. A truly effective zoning law that protects farmland should receive adequate support from farmers in the town, as we are the ones that are actually preserving the farmland through farming the land.

Signed: Bruce Austic, Jim and Jeff Brown, Russ Carpenter, Ron Durling, Chaw Chang and Lucy Garrison, Richard and Gail Erali , Anne Filley-Houghton, John Gates, Gregg Hoffmire, George Holmes, Roger Koskinen, Jerry Lilly, Lauren and Kevin McKinzey, Jim Meeker, Greg Mol, Thor Oechsner, Rod Porter, Tony Potenza, Greg, Alex, Evan, Tammy, , George Reynolds , Sue and Marie Roenke, Eric Shatt and Deva Maas, Dan Smith, Elizabeth Stafford, Edward, Pat & Neil Stevenson, Phil Switzer, Nathaniel and Emily Thompson, Brent and Teresa Vanek-Welch, Bob Weatherby.