A City councillor who sits on the agricultural advisory committee says farmer Dieter Dudy needs to bring his zoning into compliance with the laws.
Coun. Nelly Dever was commenting Friday on Dudy lamenting the loss of his annual Harvestfest at Thistle Farm this year because he didn’t get an event permit from the City.
But while she understood his plight, she also said it wouldn’t be fair for Dudy to get away with breaking the City’s zoning regulations while other farmers follow the rules.
“That area is farm use. If they want to bring in new uses to that property, there’s a process,” she said.
“If I want to expand my business, then I need to make sure I’m zoned for it.”
Dudy has been hosting Harvestfest for 14 years as a gathering to celebrate the fall bounty with friends and customers. However, he has been adding weddings and other events at his Westsyde farm and the City has had complaints about parking and other issues.
He said earlier this week his wife forgot to include Harvestfest in a list of events that were submitted to the City for permits.
He is in the process of applying for rezoning to go along with the expanding focus of his business.
Dever pointed out that Dudy was also on the agricultural advisory committee, but he removed himself because he’s not in compliance with the City’s bylaws.
The committee, which is aiming at supporting and encouraging agriculture in the community, will be looking at policies and recommendations to City council.
“A lot of the stuff we deal with is urban and rural agriculture, how to set buffers beneficial to both. He recognized he was in non-compliance and had potential conflict,” she said.
Dever expected Dudy’s rezoning application will be submitted to city hall soon, although the owner of Thistle Farm said he’s busy with harvest season and paperwork has been coming second.
She said the agricultural advisory committee wants to find ways to encourage and support agriculture and help farmers be successful. But they also have to follow the rules and everyone has to be treated the same.
“Non-compliance is non-compliance,” she said.