Gaines approves farm labor housing at 2 sites

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 July 2018 at 7:14 am

GAINES – The Gaines Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday approved farm labor housing at two locations, although one site is for conditional approval.

Robin Root of Root Brothers Farms is applying for farm labor housing at 2325 Gaines Rd. He has eight laborers from Mexico coming in about three weeks. They will stay until mid-December on visas, working on the farm’s vegetable operations.

The house for the workers is in a residential-agriculture district. However, it isn’t included in an agricultural district, and that is one condition for farm labor housing, said Michael Grabowski, the ZBA chairman.

Root purchased the house in September and has applied to be in the ag district. There will be a public hearing July 25 in Albion by the Orleans County Legislature, to consider additions to the ag district. The Legislature is expected to vote on the additions on July 25 and then send the changes to the state for approval. Dan Strong, the Gaines code enforcement officer, said the state will likely certify additions in October.

That would be too late for Root to accommodate his work crew. Root has already upgraded the septic system and made other improvements to the property to get approval from the Health Department.

Grabowski and the ZBA decided to give him conditional approval for the labor housing. If the house isn’t included in the ag district, Root won’t be able to use it for farmworkers after this December, the ZBA determined.

Strong said there is no reason for the county or the state to deny the site in the Ag District.

“It will become part of his farm operation,” Strong told the board.

The ZBA also approved a house at 3125 Kenyonville Rd. for farm labor housing. Ken Haylett applied to have the house used for farmworkers. The house is already in the ag district.

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