The Zoning Commission granted Allyson Angelini, of , the right to farm her 193 Iron Street parcel along with the adjacent 195 Iron Street parcel, which she also owns after she petitioned the Commission last Thursday.
Earlier this month, Angelini encountered resistance against her right to farm the 2.38-acre lot on 195 Iron Street even though she had already been farming adjacent 3.82-acre lot on 193 Iron Street and she owns them both, she said.
Angelini attracted attention to the technicality when she applied for a building permit to erect a hoop house on the smaller lot and plant winter greens. The 30’ x 72’ moveable structure is designed for in-ground planting in prime agricultural soil, which she has at 195 Iron Street.
“This will allow us to into the winter,” she said of the plastic covered, unheated greenhouse. “It’ll give us a few extra weeks in the fall and a head start in the spring.”
At first, she was told that the 195 Iron Street parcel was too small to farm on and consequently was prohibited from constructing an “accessory structure” like a greenhouse instead of a primary structure like a residence on the lot. The town’s zoning regulations doesn’t allow commercial farming on anything less than 3-acres.
Bob Burns of Aiki Farms said he ran into a similar obstacle when he put roots in Ledyard but at the time the minimum land required was 30-acres. Angelini’s case was different because she had already been farming the adjacent lot, which does exceed the 3-acre minimum and farming 195 Iron Street seemed to be an extension of that operation.
What’s the downside? Something untoward could happen but the benefit is much greater than the risk,” said Planning Commission Chair Mike Cherry, who was present at the hearing. “We’re allowing a new farmer in town and we’re hopefully allowing her to prosper.”
Initially, Angelini proposed the idea of leasing the land to herself but in the end, did not have to.
The Commission resolved that “the tract of land is not required to be on a single lot and that the tract of land may overlay multiple smaller lots, or parts of smaller lots, or be part of a larger lot, to achieve the 3-acre minimum tract of contiguous land necessary to be a “farm” as defined by the zoning regulations. Separate or multiple greenhouses can be constructed on each lot that is part of the “farm”.
“We’re allowing existing farms to expand not creating a precedence for smaller farms,” said Treaster.
Angelini was granted the right to farm both lots that she owns and erect the hoop house with respect to the proper setbacks from the imaginary line that divides the property with the only condition that the tunnel be removed if 195 Iron Street is no longer used for farming.
Angelini said she is anxious to put up the hoop house, which will take less than a day, and will do so at the soonest possible date.