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Bedford Daily Voice serves Bedford, Bedford Hills & Katonah

BOL Protects Agricultural Lands In Bedford

Board of Legislators Majority Leader Pete Harckham
Board of Legislators Majority Leader Pete Harckham Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The Westchester County Board of Legislators authorized the new addition of six parcels of land to Westchester County Agricultural District Number 1 in a unanimous vote of approval.

The properties include three in the Town of North Salem, two in the Town of Bedford and one in the Town of Lewisboro, and encompass 68 acres.

The new parcels in Ag District 1 are:

  • Sweet Water Farm, 893 Peach Lake Road, North Salem (13.3 acres).
  • Gossett Brothers Nursery, 1202 Route 35, Lewisboro (5.5 acres).
  • Sun Raven Farm, 501 Guard Hill Road, Bedford (4 acres).
  • Canterwood Farm, 100 Titicus Road, North Salem (19.1 acres).
  • 102 Titicus Road, North Salem, (1.3 acres)
  • Mill Pond Farm, 121 Stone Hill Road, Bedford (24.8 acres).

“It makes sense in terms of protecting our environment and maintaining open space in Westchester for the Board of Legislators to approve this increase in the County Agricultural District,” Board of Legislators Majority Leader Pete Harckham (D-North Salem) said in a statement. “Farming should remain a viable economic activity in Westchester, where appropriate, and this legislative action keeps farmland in active use and gives farm owners certain protections under New York State’s Right to Farm laws.” Westchester was the first county to opt in to the state’s Agricultural District program. While the district does not enable its members, as individuals, to obtain grants or government money, the county, on behalf of the farms, may apply for state grants, like those in the Purchase of Development Rights program.

The economic base that comes with agricultural endeavors is one that creates unique jobs and allows communities to keep in touch with their history, Harckham said. The properties are used mainly for farming crops, dairy production or raising horses, while contributing to Westchester’s special character and prosperity through agribusiness. “Also, with the growing interest in locally produced, healthy, farm fresh food, the importance of agriculture to the northern Westchester economy and job growth simply cannot be understated, ” Harckham said in the statement. The Westchester County Board of Legislators created the Westchester County Agricultural District and the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board to help preserve and protect the county’s natural resources and assure a diverse and interconnected system of open space. Additionally, the county’s planning board has long supported the protection and enhancement of agricultural land in Westchester as a means of reducing the wide environmental impact associated with development and suburban sprawl.

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