On Thursday, Oct. 17, CEA Farms put in an application to the Building Department to have a hearing in front of the planning board about building a lettuce farm on State Road.
The applicant has the right, as any other town residents do, to present a plan to the planning or zoning boards and get a hearing on their application. The presentation to the planning board does not make it right or wrong. The presentation gives the applicant the opportunity to have a hearing and present their facts to the planning board. Residents will also have the opportunity to speak at the planning board meeting for or against the presentation.
CEA Farms has informed the town that they will have informational meetings on this project on Wednesday, Nov. 6 and Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Webster Thomas High School, located at 800 Five Mile Line Road, Webster. There will also be a presentation at 10 a.m. at Thomas High School on Saturday, Nov. 9. Residents are encouraged to attend these meetings to see the presentations and ask questions about the plan given to the planning board.
Contrary to what some residents might think, under the law, this is a planning board issue and not a town board issue. The town board will not have a vote on this project. This is just like any other issue involving the planning board, if the project does not need a rezone it is not heard by the town board.
For example, recently the West Golf Course was sold, and the project went to the planning board because the site was already zoned for residential housing — and has been for decades. The farm project site will stay a farm/agricultural in the future, so the town board does not need to be involved and has not been involved to this date.
Some have said I am at fault for this project coming to town and I should stop it. The only hand I had in this project coming to Webster was at least a year ago, CEA Farms asked me for lands available to build a lettuce farm on and I gave them all available lands in Webster including Xerox. As your town supervisor, I do this all the time when a business or a restaurant wants to come to Webster.
I sincerely hope residents take the time to hear what is being presented and ask questions at the above informational or at the planning board meetings.
Term Limits
I have received two phones this past week asking about changing the term of the supervisor on this year’s voting ballot and going to “term limits” for the supervisor’s office.
The answer to these questions is addressed in New York State Town Law 24-a. It clearly states that a majority of the town board must vote on a motion to have a referendum on changing the term of the office of the supervisor. This can only be done in an election year that the supervisor is running in, so Nov. 5, 2019, was out of the question.
The next possible time voting could happen on term limits would be if the town board had a super majority vote to set a referendum on the ballot in November 2021. If the residents of Webster passed such a resolution at the voting booth in 2021, term limits would not take effect
until after the election of 2023.
So, any discussion of term limits right now is premature before the residents of Webster have had their say at the ballot box.
As always, if you have any questions about your town government, please feel free to contact me during regular business hours at (585) 872-7068; or email me anytime at supervisor@ci.webster.ny.us.