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State judge backs town ZBA decision on CEA Farms

Town of Webster ZBA decided the lettuce farm does not meet agricultural qualifications



Webster, NY - State Supreme Court Judge Gail Donofrio has ruled that the Town of Webster Zoning Board’s determination that the proposed CEA Fresh Farms project is not agricultural was an appropriate interpretation of Town Code.

Back in June 2020, the town zoning board determined that the proposed lettuce farm project is not customary agriculture, per the Town of Webster Zoning Code.

In an effort to appeal the zoning board’s decision, CEA filed an Article 78 petition. However, Judge Donofrio made the decision to uphold the zoning board’s determination on Feb. 11.

The Webster Citizens for Appropriate Land Use (WeCALU) filed an Article 78 petition in New York State Supreme Court in December 2019 - two weeks after the Webster Planning Board gave final approval to CEA Fresh Farms to build a large lettuce farm on a 140.8-acre parcel of land on State Road.

WeCALU had argued that the zoning board should have heard their appeal before the town pushed the project through as appropriate use for the parcel of land.

Judge Donofrio had agreed that “the rejection of the appeal by the Deputy Town Attorney without presenting it to the ZBA was improper,” according to a prior press release.

WeCALU spokesperson Tim Young stated, “We are obviously quite pleased with the judge’s decision and with the process the ZBA went through to make their determination.”
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