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Brasher man denied area variance to house farm animals on his property

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BRASHER FALLS — A Brasher man was denied an area variance Thursday night to keep animals on his property that doesn’t meet the town’s minimum acreage requirements for livestock.

Dale Matthews owns 1.8 acres of property on Upper Ridge Road, but the town’s minimum acreage requirement to have animals is 5 acres. He told the Zoning Board of Appeals that his property is zoned as an agricultural district and animals primarily are brought to the residence from his farm on Hopson Road if they’re in need of care and are then returned to the farm. “I’m not looking to raise them at my house. It’s something I’m doing to make the rest of my operation profitable,” he said. “I didn’t know there was any kind of code like this (when purchasing the property). It’s out in the country. It’s all farms.”

But ZBA members said they were concerned that approving the variance would set a precedent for others who wanted to keep livestock on less than 5 acres. They also said the variance would stay with the property once it was granted, which might cause issues down the road for future residents in that neighborhood.

Voting against the variance were Chairman Stacy J. Dutch and board member John Kesner. Board member Keitha Arquiette voted in favor of approving it.

Mr. Kesner said that although he personally knew that the fence line and barn on the Upper Ridge Road property were well-maintained, the difference between Mr. Matthews’s acreage and the minimum required acreage was his biggest concern.

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