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Farmer who owns land eyed for quarry says Shelby unfairly targeting land near refuge with restrictions

Posted 22 September 2016 at 6:58 am

Editor:

I am a resident and taxpayer in Shelby and have been farming in this town since 1947.  After my sons, Ed and Jim, graduated from Medina High School we began farming as a family and still do today.

I oppose the Shelby Town Board trying to enact New Local Law No. 2 of 2016. The Town Board has not disclosed the basis for creating the law other than the supervisor telling the newspaper “the town doesn’t want a quarry so close to the refuge.” That’s not a strong basis to pass a law that imposes so many restrictions on landowners. Yet, the Department of Environmental Conservation and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service are certainly aware of the advantages and benefits the quarry will have on critical habitat in the refuge.

Did the town consult any credentialed, unbiased experts about wildlife or the refuge in order to develop LL2? Because the town did not actively participate with any experts in the SEQR process and the town did not offer any expert witness testimony at the issues conference in April, it’s hard to believe they would have contacted a wildlife or environmental expert in order to come up with a sound basis for LL2.

Will the parcels in the “Wildlife Refuge Overlay Protection District” be exempt from all taxes, like the refuge? They most certainly should be if those of us who own parcels in that district will lose control of our land. That would put more of a burden on landowners outside the overlay district to pay more in taxes.

My family has been called greedy farmers for pursuing the quarry project with Frontier Stone. We farmers are not greedy. We feed all the people here and throughout the world. And all these years, we have supported the wildlife that roamed our land, welcomed them on our property and provided them with a consistent source of food to survive – hay, corn and wheat. We never put up fences or barriers or signs to keep them out.  And our tax dollars have supported the town. Farmers all over Shelby contribute thousands and thousands of tax dollars every year to the town and school.

Mother Nature has been here a whole lot longer than we have. She can take better care of herself after the human race has annihilated itself with drugs, shootings, stabbings, war and fast-food drive thrus. Second to Mother Nature, we farmers are pretty good stewards of the land and we would not support anything going on our land that would annihilate it.

Local Law No. 2 will negatively impact many farmers, sportsmen, developers and other future businesses. This overlay district is not what is best for the town and community. Vote down LL2 in its entirety.

Chester Zelazny

Shelby