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Mon, Dec 31, 2012

Massachusetts Town Says Model Airplane Club Violates Farm Zoning

RC Club Leases Land From Local Farm Owner

The owners of Long Hill Farm near West Newbury, MA, are apparently in violation of local zoning codes and state law for allowing a model airplane club to lease some of the farm's land.

The farm receives state tax exemptions for agricultural purposes under the state Agricultural Preservation Restriction law. Town Counsel Michael McCarron told the town's selectman that allowing the Cape Ann RC Model Airplane Club to lease some of its land is in violation of that law, as well as the town's zoning code, according to a report appearing in the Newburyport Daily News.

While McCarron did not say that flying model planes from the farm was illegal, the owners, John and Cindy Adams, needed to get permission from state and local officials to undertake "non-farm activity" on the land. The selectmen said they would send a "cease and desist" letter to the couple, but that action was delayed until after the first of the year following a request from Mrs. Adams, who could not attend the meeting.

According to the paper, the club has been flying from the farm for 18 years, but a nearby resident recently made a formal complaint about noise on the weekends. The club had said on its website that it was planning to extend its runway at the farm, and the homeowner, Stephen Shepard, questioned the legality of the activity in a letter dated December 10.

Cindy Adams told the paper that the couple does not want to alienate their neighbors, and hopes that a compromise solution can be found to allow the club to continue operations from the farm. But the road to that compromise may be long and bureaucratic, involving multiple local and state government entities, formal hearings, and likely a lot of paperwork.

FMI: www.wnewbury.org/pages/index

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