“Right to farm” can only go so far

So this is the third blog item to describe a Rural Lands Task Force idea that didn’t go over well with commissioners, and I apologize.

But, hey. They are making it too easy.

The task force suggested expanding the “right to farm/log” code, which currently says, and I’m paraphrasing, that neighbors can’t whine about the smell if they buy a house next to a dairy farm.

Here’s the current wording: “It is the policy and purpose of this chapter to protect and encourage good agricultural and forest activities which were established prior to the surrounding nonagricultural and nonforestry activities by presuming these activities to be reasonable unless it is demonstrated that these activities have a substantial adverse effect on the public health and safety.”

The task force wanted to delete the words I put in boldface type.

No good, deputy prosecuting attorney Chris Cook said Tuesday.

(Again, I’m paraphrasing.)

What she told commissioners was that while common law supports the right to farm if the farm came first, “it would be very difficult to support that ordinance,” if the commissioners adopted the suggestion of the task force.

“I don’t think it would hold up in court,” Cook said. “You can’t do something that unreasonably interferes with your neighbors’ use of property.”

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