Meeting Minutes

Canterbury Agricultural Study Group

Thursday January 7, 2010

CanterburyCommunity Center

  1. Call to order: Dawn Pindell called the meeting to order at 7:02 PM
  1. Roll call:
  2. Members present: Dawn Pindell, John Baldwin, Lee Wrigley, Steve Benson, Chris Wellinghausen (EDC), Ray Roode (EDC)
  3. Others present: Jennifer Kauffman, Steve Sadlowski, Mark Christensen, Mark Mierzejewski
  1. Review of minutes from December 2, 2009:

a.Minutes from previous meeting were reviewed, and one minor error corrected. Lee Wrigley moved to approve the minutes as amended; second by Chris Wellinghausen. Motion was passed unanimously.

  1. New Business:
  2. Website: Jennifer Kauffman presented information printed from the website “Woodstock Grown” as potential example for Canterbury. Discussion followed regarding adding a link to the existing CanterburyTown website, for posting agriculture issues and farming information. Discussion included “how to” mechanisms required to develop agricultural web pages for Canterbury. John Baldwin made a motion that the Canterbury Agricultural Study Group (ASG) develop and implement an agriculture website linked to the existing town site; second by Lee Wrigley. Motion passed unanimously.
  3. Brochure: Jennifer Kauffman discussed benefits of the existing Canterbury Economic Development Commission (EDC) business brochure, and potential options for developing a similar brochure for the agricultural entities in town. A newly printed EDC brochure(“How to Start a Business in Canterbury”) was also reviewed and favorably commented upon. Discussion included potential costs of developing and printing a brochure. Jennifer provided information on brochures from several CT towns, such as Mansfield. Group discussed merits of consolidating ASG inputs into EDC brochure, or publishing a separate agricultural brochure. The discussion also included coordination necessary with EDC, common objectives and goals. Several opinions voiced. ASG made a recommendation to the EDC representatives to have ASG provide inputs on future town business brochures as well as any other EDC mechanisms for promoting Canterbury businesses, in order to leverage value of efforts between both groups. Jennifer provided two additional brochure examples published by Carver, MA Agricultural Commission that incorporated farming businesses. This could be a method for Canterbury to disseminate agricultural information utilizing funding that may be available through LastGreenValley and CT AgVocate offices to develop a “regional” brochure. This may require ‘letters of support’ from Canterbury Selectmen and ASG to implement.
  4. Commission: Discussion took place regarding development of a town ordinance that would establish an official Canterbury Agricultural Commission, similar to efforts just approved by the Town of Brooklyn, CT. Jennifer Kauffman provided background information about the numerous CT towns that have existing agricultural commission ordinances. Mark Christensen recommended using the Guilford, CT ordinance as the Canterbury template, since all associated legal aspects had already been researched on that document. Mark Mierzejewski discussed a similar ordinance in North Stonington, CT. Jennifer will provide copies of existing ordinances as examples for review prior to the next ASG meeting. ASG members present agreed to the objective of drafting and endorsing a Canterbury Agricultural Commission Ordinance during the January 28, 2010 meeting, then forwarding it the Board of Selectmen for future Town Meeting approval.
  5. RTFO: Discussion on developing a Right to Farm Ordinance (RTFO) for Canterbury. Topics included the potential advantages and disadvantages of pursuing this at the same time an Agriculture Commission Ordinance (ACO) was being proposed for the town, whether the two ordinances could be combined into one document, or to wait and develop RTFO after the ACO is approved. Jennifer Kauffman will promulgate electronic copies of several RTFO and ACO documents to the ASG and EDC as examples, along with associated talking points for next meeting.
  1. Old Business:
  2. POCD: Canterbury Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Commission will meet on January 20, 2010 to review the draft POCD and all recent changes that were previously submitted to the entire document. P&Z’s objective is to forward the document for review and public hearing (town meeting) and eventual P&Z vote. Public hearing tentatively slated for a date in March 2010 yet to be determined.
  3. AZR:Steve Sadlowski reported on status of proposed Canterbury Agricultural Zoning Regulations (AZR.) He provided copies of correspondence from Joan Nichols, Government Relations Specialist with the CT Farm Bureau who has reviewed the draft AZR and made minor comments on three topics which have all been resolved. Her suggested changes will be incorporated with the final document.
  1. Next Steps: The following action items were proposed by Jennifer Kauffman and discussed as follow-on steps for the ASG.
  2. ProvideEDC inputs for future brochure(s) and coordinate with EDC on how to enhance agricultural development in town.
  3. Establish an agricultural development web page that is linked to the Canterbury Town Website.
  4. Develop town ordinances that are agricultural specific, and forward to applicable boards and commissions for review.
  5. Lee Wrigley broached question of expanding the Farmers Market concept in town from a couple individual business sites to one with more comprehensive participation established on a larger scale with an improved, centralized location having better accessibility and greater economic viability. Discussion followed on potential benefits, drawbacks, obstacles, and how to implement. Jennifer Kauffman suggested a “needs assessment” be conducted by a subcommittee supervised under the ASG.
  1. Other Business:
  2. Jennifer Kauffman reported that Phase II funding of the CT AgVocate Program was approved and will continue for another 12 months, adding 4 more towns to the existing 6 currently utilizing the program.
  3. Jennifer reported that a follow-on CT AgVocate Training Seminar will be conducted at the CanterburyMunicipalCenter for farmers from the regional area. Tentative date will be either March 29 or 30, 2010. Agenda will include details on the value of agriculture to the community, what tools are available to promote agriculture, how to successfully meet municipal regulations, and where to acquire farming information.
  1. Adjournment:
  2. Next ASG meeting scheduled for same location January 28, 2010 at 7PM.
  3. Lee Wrigley moved to adjourn the meeting; second by John Baldwin. Motion unanimous and meeting was adjourned at 8:25PM.