Greenhouse Rule Okd And Opposed

Posted: September 19, 1993

WORCESTER — The township supervisors have voted unanimously to restrict residents from building commercial greenhouses on properties of less than 10 acres.

James J. Garrity, township solicitor, said the new ordinance, which takes effect immediately, was needed because two residents wanted to build two large commercial greenhouses next to homes.

"We don't want a huge greenhouse on a real small lot," he said at the Wednesday night meeting. The vote was 3-0.

Garrity said the supervisors reduced the restriction from 25 to 10 acres after James Boswell, who owns a nursery on Kriebel Mill Road, complained at the July hearing.

Boswell is not satisfied. The ordinance violates the 1982 Right-to-Farm Act, he said.

"Local government cannot enforce laws that prevent normal agricultural practices," Boswell said. "This ordinance is agricultural-unfriendly."

According to the state law, no nuisance action can be brought against an agricultural operation that has lawfully been in business for at least one year.

Normal agricultural operation, as defined under the 1982 law, is the yearly practice of production, preparation and harvesting of meat products, agricultural, horticultural, agronomic and silvicultural crops, and commodities. To be covered under this definition, a property cannot be of less than 10 acres, unless a property owner expects a gross annual income of at least $10,000.

Boswell, 69, who has been at the 7 1/2-acre Kriebel Mill Road site since 1964, said he has an income of more than $10,000. He said he is concerned that if he sold his property, a new owner would not be permitted to construct a greenhouse.

But Garrity said the new ordinance would not prevent people from building greenhouses for private use. The problem comes when the hothouse becomes a place of business, he said.