Brewer said even though state law exempts bona fide farm operations from local zoning regulations, she decided to go through the county’s zoning permit process to match her farm plan to the standards of the county.
“We're a small family farm,” Brewer said. “I'm lucky that Orange County provides a lot of great support to beginning farmers. The preservation of land and restoration of buildings is something I really believe in, and I'm excited to get the farm started and begin the restoration of a 19th-century barn this spring.”
Mark Dorosin, District 1 vice chairperson of the Board of Orange County Commissioners, said the issue is whether the
local government can regulate farm use.
“The question that has
arisen with this use is whether what the property owner wants to do with their
property is in fact a bona fide farm use within the statutory definition,”
Dorosin said. “If it does not fall under
this definition, and is another type of accessory business, the fact that it
may take place on a farm may have some secondary impacts on the community.”
And the impacts on the
community are a source of concern for many local farmers and property owners,
though they do not have much say over what Brewer can do with the property.
Orange County Commisioner
Penny Rich said the issue might be out of the control of the Board of
“The barn is on a farm,
and they get exempt from the county commissioners telling them what to do,”
Rich said. “I know the public feels like they’ve not been heard, but my
understanding is that our hands are tied.
We have no power over this because once you have a farm it is a state