Schartner Farms petitions court to lift stop-work order

Schartner Farm
Schartner Farms/Facebook

EXETER, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island company that owns a half-built $64 million greenhouse wants a judge to reconsider the cease-and-desist order issued by an Exeter zoning inspector.

The attorney for Rhode Island Grows filed a brief on Tuesday to argue that the town’s zoning board disregarded the state’s Right to Farm Act and zoning permissions for greenhouses after it halted the project on farmer Tim Schartner’s property, The Providence Journal reported Thursday.

Construction on the 25-acre greenhouse began last June. Schartner has argued the greenhouse, like any other, was legally exempt from town regulatory oversight. But the Journal reports that because of its unprecedented size, zoning inspector Hal Morgan said the structure needed to go through the approval process.

“A judge is going to decide, and that’s what should have happened from day one when we realized we didn’t agree on a point of law,” Morgan said. “We, the town, will sit and wait, and whatever it (the decision) is, we are going to abide by it.”

Morgan had ordered a cease-and-desist in October when the farm missed a deadline to present documents showing why it thinks the greenhouse project is exempt from a zoning review, the newspaper reported.

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island