WEST NEWBURY — Long Hill Farm may be in jeopardy of losing critical revenue unless it can obtain the necessary permitting to allow a nonprofit model airplane club to continue to lease part of the farmland.
Farm owners John and Cindy Adams are in violation of both the town’s zoning bylaws and a stipulation in the state Agricultural Preservation Restriction law for allowing Cape Ann RC Model Airplane Club to use land that currently receives state tax exemptions for agricultural purposes, Town Counsel Michael McCarron told selectmen last week.
While McCarron did not say the use was illegal, he said the landowners never got permission for the activity from local and state officials, which is legally required before undertaking any non-farming activity on their property.
Selectmen agreed to issue a letter notifying the owners that they appear to be in violation of the laws and demanding that they “cease and desist” until they secure a special permit for the club’s activity.
But at the request of Cindy Adams, who could not attend last week’s meeting, they delayed further discussion of the issue until after the new year. The board’s next meeting is Jan. 9 in the first-floor hearing room of the 1910 Town Office Building.
The model airplane club has been operating on Long Hill Farm’s land for 18 years, according to information Adams provided to building inspector Glenn Clohecy.
However, a Bridge Street resident recently filed a formal complaint about noise generated on the weekends by the 5- to 6-foot planes that fly in the area of his home.
“According to the club website, there are plans to expand the runway on Long Hill Orchard, which I imagine will bring with it even more noise,” wrote Stephen Shepard in a letter to selectmen dated Dec. 10. He questioned whether the operation was allowable.