Neighbors support Elliott's tree farm

The Enterprise — Jo E. Prout

Tree farm questions: Town board member Patricia Snyder, standing, asks applicant Cynthia Elliott, left, about the future of Elliott’s proposed Christmas tree farm at Tuesday’s planning board meeting.

NEW SCOTLAND — A crowd of neighbors came out Tuesday for a public hearing on Cynthia Elliott’s proposed tree farm and fair-weather event pavilion, and most supported the venture.

The planning board continued Elliott’s request for a special-use permit without closing the hearing, while it waits for information from the county, said the planning board chairman, Charles Voss.

The board discussed whether or not the proposed use would be allowed to continue beyond Elliott’s ownership of the property.

Elliott, a local surveyor, wants to replant her mother’s tree farm, formerly known as Scotch Hill Acres, on property she now owns and lives on at Brownrigg Road in Feura Bush. She and her family applied, as Triple S Farm, for a special-use permit in the residential agricultural zone to allow her to sell wreaths, boughs, and trees at the farm’s existing pavilion in the winter.

Elliott wants to use the enclosed pavilion, which has kitchen and bathroom facilities and water, as an outdoor banquet facility during the tree farm’s off season. She told the board that she got the idea after hosting family weddings there.

“This is to be more exclusive,” Elliott told one neighbor who asked about signage at the road. The venue, she said, would not be too commercial.

Building Inspector Jeremy Cramer said that two signs are allowed in the zone, and that they cannot exceed 12 square feet each. Elliott said that she plans to use carved wooden signs that have three S’s and a pond; the signs will be placed on her property, she said.

Town board member Patricia Snyder, who attended the planning board meeting, asked, “Will it always be owner-occupied?”

Voss said that the planning board is looking at the code to see if the board can create a condition for the permit that would end the use when Elliott no longer owned the property; previously, Elliott said that the business on the farm, on which she has lived for 50 years, would be shared with family members.

“SUPs do run with the land,” said planning board attorney Jeffrey Baker. Elliott would have to sign accepting a condition to stop the use when she no longer owns the business, he said.

“Which she will not,” Elliott said of herself.

Elliott told the board that the special events would take place May to October, about three times per month at the most. The site would follow the town’s 2006 noise law and stop all music at 11 p.m., she said, and be served by caterers with certified bartenders.

One neighbor spoke in favor of the project, saying that music from the parties could not be louder than the trains in Feura Bush or the all-terrain vehicles that drive on nearby power easements.

Elliott said that the three family members will run the business, and she does not plan to hire others.
“I think this is a great project,” said her neighbor, Anthony Turi. “It’ll put the land to use, again.”

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