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Simpler permit for farming code proposed by Wales Town Board

A simpler, one-time special-use permit would be needed for farms under 10 acres as part of a new farming code in the Town of Wales.

Town Councilman Gerald Klinck shared information about the proposal during this week's meeting.

The new standard would separate farm operations from general farming by eliminating a biannual permit requirement, Klinck said. Also, a small farm under the special-use permit doesn't need to be contiguously located on 10 acres but can be scattered around town.

This new farming code also would be a victory for town goat farmers Kerry and Eric Beiter, who stood up to the board with the help of the state Department of Agriculture and Markets and the State Farm Bureau. The Beiters claimed previously proposed legislation was not farm- friendly.

The Town Board in July considered replacing a 20-year-old law to require owners of hoofed farm animals to be housed on no less than a 10-acre contiguous plot. After hearing from the Beiters, board members, who stressed they are very pro-farming, put the law on hold for further study and eliminated the current law altogether until a new one could be drafted.

The Beiters claimed the law proposed in July was unfair, too restrictive and would force them out of business.

Klinck called the new code proposal a "good compromise." The board will review the proposal before a public hearing is held.

Also this week, the board:

* Heard an updated report from Tracey Karp, director of the Elma, Marilla and Wales Boys and Girls Club, who said that the club has served 600 children since September on a $350,000 budget.

"We are fiscally sound and have been for the past four years," said Karp, who also voiced concerns over attempts to cut the club budget. "We have two new programs this year we are very excited about," she added. "One is a music program for the first time ever, and we are offering lessons on the piano and ukulele on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The second is a superheroes program dedicated to the handicapped … which meets monthly for those ages 5 to 21."

Children from two dozen families served by the club have various physical and mental health challenges, she said.

* Received an application for a special-use permit from Wales Center Enterprises to operate a retail country store upstairs from the Creekside Deli at 12294 Big Tree Road.

* Approved a request from Building Inspector Walter Raichel to purchase a hand-held setting master for the sound meter, at a cost of $485. The meter was purchased at the urging of a group of residents concerned about the noise levels that may be heard from the new National Fuel Compressor Station on Reiter Road.