Chapter xxxxx of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after xxxxx the following section:---
Section xxxxx. No general by-law or ordinance shall prohibit, unreasonably regulate, or require a permit for commercial agriculture on land or in structures qualified under G.L. c. 40A, Sec. 3, or agricultural activities, operations, and practices associated therewith. Land divided by a public or private way or a waterway shall be considered one parcel. For the purposes of this section, the term "agriculture'' shall be as defined in section 1A of chapter 128, and the term horticulture shall include the growing and keeping of nursery stock and the sale thereof. Said nursery stock shall be considered to be produced by the owner or lessee of the land if it is nourished, maintained, and managed while on the premises.
Chapter 111 is hereby amended in section1 by inserting the following definitions:
Agricultural Commission - a standing committee of town government, created through a vote of Town Meeting and or appointed by the Board of Selectmen, chief elected official or governing body of the town, intended to protect and promote agriculture within a community.
Chapter 111 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 31E the following section:
Section 31F (a) No local board of health (board) regulation (regulation) shall prohibit or unreasonably regulate commercial agriculture on land or in structures qualified under G.L. c. 40A, Sec. 3, or agricultural activities, operations, and practices associated therewith. For the purposes of this section, the term "agriculture'' shall be as defined in section 1A of chapter 128.
(b) The applicability of any board regulation shall be deferred in effect as applied to agriculture until and unless the regulation is found to be consistent with Section 31F(a) as provided in this subsection.
(1) In communities with agricultural commissions as defined in this chapter, no Board of Health Regulation which impacts on agricultural operations as defined in MGL Chapter 128 section 1a shall take effect until the Board of Health:
a) submits a copy of the regulation to the agricultural commission within their community. Within 45 days of receipt, the agricultural commission shall hold an open public meeting to review the regulation and its potential impact on agriculture and subsequently submit written recommendations to the board of health. The regulations may go into immediate effect if the board of health adopts the recommendations of the agricultural commission or the two bodies agree upon a compromise set of regulation through a mutually agreed upon process and timeframe. In the absence of agreement, the two bodies shall submit to mediation under the auspices of the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration or other entity as identified by the Department of Agricultural Resources.
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