Right to farm bill, a way to help out the little farmer to keep them in business or a way to let rich and powerful “farmers” avoid town politics and do what they want.
The gist of the bill, if you own farm land and want to host a wedding or other event you now have the freedom to do it.
BUT guess what………
Right now town councils already allow people to host special events like weddings or concerts on their farms through a special permit.
Requesting a special permit does add a step for the farm land, but it helps towns with planning. For example hosting a concert means traffic and security concerns, which fall on the towns to cover.
What is the point of a state bill that takes things out of town hands?
While this bill may be penned as a way to help the little farmer keep their farms, the little farmer is not pushing for this bill. Instead there are two groups working to push this legislation, a developer Zarella and Sakonnet Vineyard (owned by Carolyn Rafaelian of Alex and Ani fame).
Why do they want this legislation? It will make it easier for someone to claim “agricultural” uses of land and then run a commercial business on the land. It cuts out the need to make a request to the town. Also, the only way a town can prohibit an event is if they can show safety is an issue.
People should support good legislation, but from where I sit, there is not much good about this bill.
Rhode Island needs to do what is right for the people, not for the pocket books of two.