Webster residents take company to court over proposed lettuce factory site


Field on State Road could see seven factories growing leafy green vegetables year-round

WEBSTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Residents in Webster concerned about a new round-the-clock lettuce factory had their day in court this month. 

The proposed 146-acre CEA Fresh Farms site on State Road could see seven factories growing leafy green vegetables year-round. Those who live near the field are saying the land is zoned as large lot residential, not for industrial farming that would violate standards in place.

It’s one reason why they brought the company, and the town, to court

“We saved for years to be able to come out here,” says Jennifer Berunig who just moved to her home across the street from the site. She says her family is dreading the construction and noise that could come. She was in court on February 11 for the hearing. 

“The judge listened very carefully to both sides, and she’s going to come back with a written decision but it may be as long as two months,” she says.

The traffic is going to be “tremendous,” say David and Sue Wipple, who have lived across from the proposed site for 42 years. They say the roads are extremely narrow with steep ditches, and won’t be able to handle the constant tractor trailer traffic, up to 40 a day in and out. They’re also concerned about extreme noise and light pollution. 

“The building’s going to be 200 feet from my front door,” says David Whipple.

Back in November, Kevan Fight, the CEO of CEA Fresh Farms, and the Town of Webster, said the factories will be a job-generator, creating about 375 jobs, and fill the void left when Xerox downsized.

Fight says they have plans in place to remedy many concerns, including berms with trees, and shades for the lights. “This is going to be a very happy campus,” said Fight.

Folks nearby say they just want the massive field to be left alone. “It’s going to affect the wild life, it’s going to affect our life, it’s going to affect most of all, the property value of this home,” says Pam Scarlata.

For more info on Webster Citizens for Appropriate Land Use, click here. They also have an active GoFundMe page.

Town of Webster officials did not immediately return a request for comment.

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