Apparently, the proposed zoning amendments placed on the on the 2018 ballot by a Citizen’s Petition has brought out the fear mongers. Warning you that large conventions centers, restaurants, homes being able to change into a farm over night so you can construct some chicken coops and have a paid admissions minibike tracks!
Oddly enough, those same individuals who are warning you bout the mini-mike track are the ones who supported opening up half the town to OHRV trails. And now show disdain for those residents who are bothered by this intrusion and have complained about the noise and property destruction and vandalism.
The reason for the Citizen’s Petition is quite simple. The definitions of ‘Agriculture’ and ‘Agritourism’ in the Henniker Zoning Ordinances are unclear and confusing. The definitions of ‘Agriculture’ and “Agritourism’ do not incorporate many of the current elements of farming and agriculture necessary for our Agricultural Community to be economically viable in the 21st Century. (read here: 133-3 and 133-20 A) Be sure to read all the footnotes attached to these cumbersome definitions.
Here is the full text version of the Citizen’s Petition. (Citizen’s Petition ) You will be asked to adopt these new definitions
- Agriculture – Agriculture and farming shall mean and refer to all operations of a farm including, but not limited to: the terms ‘farm,’ ‘agriculture,’ ‘farming,’ roadside farm stands, farmer’s markets, orchards, nurseries, tree farms, Christmas tree farms, dairy farms, livestock, poultry, maple syrup operations, and all other commercial agricultural activities on a farm that are intended or designed to attract visitors to a farm, which includes ‘Agritourism’.
- Agritourism – ‘Agritourism’ is defined as interactive or passive activities carried out, with or without payment to a farmer, on a farm, ranch, or agricultural operation. ‘Agritourism’ is intended to promote rural tourism and rural economic development and strengthen our ‘Farm, Agriculture and Farming Community’. ‘Agritourism’ shall specifically include, but not be limited to, farm-to-table events, overnight stays, corn mazes, agricultural-based educational activities, fairs, on-farm weddings, civil unions and similar cultural events, hay rides, petting zoos, pick-your own produce operations, agriculture tours, nature walks, outdoor sporting activities, snowmobile, ATV trails, bike trails, hiking, snowshoeing, x-country skiing, horse trails, camping, bird watching, historical and agricultural. (sure sounds like activities are geared toward enjoying the farm environment)
- Amend Article II Definitions, Chapter 133-3 Terms Defined, by adding the following definition/title: Add ‘Agriculture’ as defined, which includes ‘Agritourism’ as defined, and amend the title “Agriculture” to read “Farm, Agriculture, Farming, Agritourism.”
No. 4: Amend Article IV: General Provisions, Chapter 133-20A Conditional Use Permits: Agritourism Uses, to read as follows: Subject to the provisions of RSA 674:21, the Planning Board is hereby authorized to issue Conditional Use Permits for Agritourism events where the host has reason to believe the Agritourism event will attract 300 or more persons at any one time on Agriculture lands. The issuance of the Conditional Use Permit will be subjected to the process and criteria currently outlined in Chapter 203 Site Plan Review Regulations.
As one can clearly see all definitions refer to a FARM. The primary use of the property must be a farm. Currently, Residential Property is permitted to engage in agricultural activities in all zones.
However, their primary use is Residential and not a farm. If those Residential properties wish to change their use to a farm, they would have to follow the policies for a Change of Use outlined in Henniker’s Site Plan Review Regulations found in Chapter 203.
The Citizen’s petition DOES NOT change or amend any portion of Chopter 203.
Important to note, Chapter 203-3 C-2 reads as follows:
C. Exceptions: These regulations do not apply to, and Site Plan Review is not required for, the following:
- Any development or expansion of a single family or two family dwelling or home business professional (as defined in 203-4 of these regulations) or of any use or building accessory to such uses.
- Any permitted change from another land use to a single family or two family dwelling, or to a home business professional.
OHB…keeping it real… making it easier for you to find the facts so you can draw your own conclusions…..
“There are things public officials would never do if they thought somebody might call them out on it.”