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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Owners of closed Shandaken farm stand are again seeking town approval to operate

Story in Daily Freeman.

ALLABEN >> The owners of the farm stand forced out of business in Mount Tremper are going to try once again to gain town approval to reopen.

At a Shandaken Planning Board meeting June 10, owner Al Higley asked the board to help him restart the approval process.

Higley’s representative, Don Brewer, who is also chairman of the town Planning Board, said the proposed farm stand would require several variances from town zoning law to be approved.

With a new application, Higley would be seeking a waiver from laws that he says restrict the size of the business. A surveyor by trade, Brewer said town law allows only 2,687 square feet of structure, parking, septic field, and other activity.

“The size of the farm stand is bigger than what’s allowed,” he told the board, adding that Higley is looking to use almost 7,000 square feet instead.

On Nov. 27, 2013, state Supreme Court Justice Mary Work gave the Hanover Farms owners 60 days to take down their farm stand, which is located on state Route 28.

That gave Higley and his son, Alfie, until Jan. 25, 2014, to remove the structure and end the legal battle between Hanover Farms and the town of Shandaken that began in 2012 when the Higleys filed a lawsuit against the town and former Shandaken code enforcement officer Richard Stokes.

The removal of the part of the farm stand that was rule to have been illegally constructed was tabled while the Higleys attempted to go through a new application process last year with the town’s Zoning Board. On Oct. 15, 2014, that application was denied “due to a lack of response from the applicant and failure to submit the required documentation from the Department of Transportation as requested by the [Zoning Board].”

Shortly afterwards, the Higleys moved their operation out of town, setting up shop in a former bank branch building in the town of Olive and calling it Greenheart Farms.

As requested by Higley, the town Planning Board voted last week to send the matter to the town Zoning Board of Appeals for review.

As was the case previously, the Zoning Board would need to grant the zoning variances before the Higleys could move ahead with any further review by the Planning Board.

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