Below is a list of Berkshire towns that have adopted the Right to Farm bylaws that require a home seller to inform a home buyer that the community allows farming (not the actual property!! That’s a different set of laws). The disclosure is intended to alert residents that farming activities may create noises, smells and dust (and slow traffic) but those are not legal nuisances. The tricky part is that each town bylaw is different… Yay, independent government! We reached out to many towns and received their information on acceptance of our sample form and where and how to send it. The towns of Hinsdale and City of Pittsfield do not require a written disclosure notification to be filed. Town Mailing/Email list in PDF format and the Right to Farm Standard form
Right to Farm Communities:
- Becket Brochure (pdf)
- Great Barrington
- Hinsdale [no disclosure]
- New Marlboro
- North Adams [no disclosure]
- Pittsfield [no disclosure]
- West Stockbridge
*As known to us, as of 12/2016 from the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission
- FlexMLS Input Screen Help!
|Sample Disclosure Form: (pdf format)
Note: Some towns may not accept this generic form – you must contact the city / town to inquire about the proper form for disclosure notification, if required at all. This form is simply to assist you for the towns that don’t have a form and allow you to draft your own.
In the meantime, here is sample disclosure language:
“It is the policy of this community to conserve, protect and encourage the maintenance and improvement of agricultural land for the production of food, and other agricultural products, and also for its natural and ecological value. This disclosure notification is to inform buyers or occupants that the property they are about to acquire or occupy lies within a town where farming activities occur. Such farming activities may include, but are not limited to, activities that cause noise, dust and odors. Buyers or occupants are also informed that the location of property within the Town may be impacted by commercial agricultural operations including the ability to access water services for such property under certain circumstances.”
Mass General Law: PART I. ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
Section 125A. If, in the opinion of the board of health, a farm or the operation thereof constitutes a nuisance, any action taken by said board to abate or cause to be abated said nuisance under sections one hundred and twenty-two, one hundred and twenty-three and one hundred and twenty-five shall, notwithstanding any provisions thereof to the contrary, be subject to the provisions of this section; provided, however, that the odor from the normal maintenance of livestock or the spreading of manure upon agricultural and horticultural or farming lands, or noise from livestock or farm equipment used in normal, generally acceptable farming procedures or from plowing or cultivation operations upon agricultural and horticultural or farming lands shall not be deemed to constitute a nuisance.
In the case of any such nuisance a written notice of an order to abate the same within ten days after receipt of such notice shall first be given as provided in section one hundred and twenty-four. If no petition for review is filed as herein provided, or upon final order of the court, said board may then proceed as provided in said sections one hundred and twenty-two, one hundred and twenty-three and one hundred and twenty-five, or in the order of the court. If the owner or operator of said farm within said ten days shall file a petition for a review of such order in the district court for the district in which the farm lies, the operation of said order shall be suspended, pending the order of the court. Upon the filing of such petition the court shall give notice thereof to said board, shall hear all pertinent evidence and determine the facts, and upon the facts as so determined review said order and affirm, annul, alter or modify the same as justice may require. The parties shall have the same rights of appeal on questions of law as in other civil cases in the district courts.
[bib category_slug=’environmental’ num=10]