Agricultural Preservation Committee

The Charlestown Agricultural Preservation Committee (CAPC) mission is to protect the right to farm in Charlestown and to promote policies that preserve and encourage agricultural operations and related activities as defined by RI State Law and by the RI Division of Agriculture. The CAPC acts as a clearinghouse for information to help Charlestown farmers when they deal with Town regulations or state laws.
The CAPC meets quarterly at 7:00 p.m., on the 2nd Wednesday in January, April, July, and October at the Town Hall. The public is invited to attend.

The CAPC has four Committee members and we are in need of two alternate members. We are all volunteers and are all farmers. Committee members are appointed for three year terms by the Charlestown Town Council. Current Committee members are:

Noel Rowe, Chair 364-7140

Sue Barrett, Vice-Chair, 364-6857

John Barrett, Secretary 364-6857

Michael Merner, 364-7207

Jane Durning, 742-0775

Jayne Merner Senecal, 364-9930

Stephen J. Stokes, Council Liaison

The CAPC was established to provide representation for farming interests within the Town in 1997 as the Agricultural sub-committee of the Conservation Commission. At that time, the Town was drafting a new zoning ordinance and this subcommittee advised that favorable wording be added into the new ordinance protecting farming as a legally conforming operation.
The sub-committee worked in conjunction with the Conservation Commission, the Town Planner, the Town Administrator, the Planning Commission, and the Town Council. The desired wording was incorporated into the Town zoning document and the sub-committee evolved into the present CAPC by resolution of the Town Council. In the past four years, the CAPC has dealt with specific problems brought to its attention by members of the agricultural community. Being the Town's resource to helping preserve agricultural rights of residents, the CAPC has acted as an advisory group to those who have sought our assistance.
The goals of the CAPC are consistent with Charlestown's Comprehensive Plan to "preserve and protect the rural character of the town."
Accomplishments of the CAPC include:
1996/97 - Created a voice for farmers in Charlestown. 1997 - Submitted language to amend zoning wording to protect farming as a legally conforming operation in the Town. 1997 - Advised on manure management techniques and fly control
1997 - Supported a local farmer's application to the Zoning Board, to allow construction of an accessory building (for livestock) before constructing a primary dwelling as was required by then current zoning regulations. The CAPC aided in the approval of this application.
1998 - Compiled the first comprehensive list of all the farms in the Town of Charlestown with the goal of keeping all informed and involved in local agriculture preservation issues. Are you a local farmer? Add your name to our list!
1998 - Contributed to the redrafting of the town's zoning ordinances regarding protecting the town's rural character and preserving and encouraging farming. 1998 - Supported the right for local farmer's to post signs advertising agricultural activities
2001 - Supported a local horse farmer's request to simplify the process to gain approval to build a riding stable.
2002 - Supported a local farmer's application to make a zoning text amendment to allow a farm supply store on the farm's acreage.
2002 - awarded a Farm Viability Grant from the RI Division of Environmental Management, Division of Agriculture for production of this website.
2003 - Supported an ordinance to allow farmers meeting certain criteria to have accessory housing on their farms, which was passed.

2008 - Supported the right of farmers to use outdoor wood burning furnaces for heating farm homes and related buildings such as barns, greenhouses and hoop houses. CAPC supported the right of farmers to put up windmills on their farms. Zoning now allows this though it limits the size of the windmill.

2017  - Supported the efforts by the Town Council to oppose the plan proposed by the Federal Railroad Association’s (FRA) to reroute the train from Old Saybrook to Kenyon. This plan would severely impact farms and open space specifically the Amos Green Farm and Stoney Hill Farm and the Carter Preserve.