Another delay in vote to approve controversial tomato farm

Local News

The decision to move forward with a proposed tomato farm in Webster that’s stirring up controversy is being postponed once again.

On Tuesday, the town’s Planning Board held a meeting at the Webster Parks & Recreation Center to address the agenda item. A previous meeting was set earlier this month to hold a vote, but was delayed because the room exceeded capacity.

This time around, the public’s concerns were heard, but people who live in the area of the proposed site were still left wondering what will happen next. 

The board motioned to table the vote, citing concerns about the project, and needing to give time to both parties’ lawyers for more research.

Intergrow Greenhouses plans to build a three-phase greenhouse operation on a development along Salt and State Roads in Webster. The first phase is set for a 25-acre greenhouse that is slated for completion in Fall 2017.

Though people who live in the area, like Jay Jugovic, are worried about the size and scope of the project, and what it will do to property values. Jugovic took the podium at Tuesday’s planning board meeting to share his concerns.

“Webster is where life is worth living because of the people in this town. Right now, I don’t feel like we’re being heard, and I think that’s why I’m so frustrated,” said Jugovic before the crowd.

Intergrow co-owner Dirk Biemans explained after the meeting, why he thinks this particular location is ideal for their greenhouses.

“We need utilities, so we need a significant amount of natural gas and electricity. This location has that. You may see a lot of open land but it’s hard to find all the utilities that we need,” said Biemans.

The company plans to eventually bring up to 150 jobs to Webster.

Biemans said if the greenhouses get built, the community will come to view the operation as an asset to the town..

“A lot of the neighbors were invited to our facility in Albion a month or so ago. Two people showed up. So, it’s tough for them to make a decision about something they don’t know [about],” said Biemans.

The Planning Board’s move to table a vote on the project could delay Intergrow’s plans an additional year, unless it’s passed at the next meeting on September 20th.

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