Ulster County Legislature says no to biodynamic farm

On Tuesday, Linda Borghi's feud with her Shawangunk neighbors over her Walker Valley biodynamic farm intensified when Ulster County legislators declined to grant her an agricultural exemption to the local zoning laws.

Pointing out that two other farms were denied zoning exemptions at the same meeting, Adam Bosch at the Times Herald-Record took a big-picture view of the conflict:

Their vote Tuesday night will become the latest chapter in a statewide struggle between farmers who want protection and special exemptions from zoning laws, and towns that are fighting to retain local control.

In recent years, these rifts have popped up in Forestburgh, Deerpark and New Paltz.

"It's a trend that's just going to continue," said David Church, Orange County's planning commissioner. "Some farmers are shoehorning onto small parcels, some of them are trying to get around local regulations, but most are relatively thoughtful, new operations."

Meanwhile, Chris Rowley of the Shawangunk Journal, who attended the meeting, caught the minutiae of the dispute. The best part of his story is a complaint made by one of Borghi's neighbors:

Keyes added other concerns, such as noise.

"The full-moon drumming can be heard all the way to the top of the road, as can the noise from excavators, tractors and so forth," he said.