Piggery hearing put off for third time
DEERFIELD —The Board of Selectmen want the town to inspect a Stillwater Road piggery once more before it decides whether it will renew the farmer’s annual site assignment.
The piggery owner, Stanley Romanowski of 97 Stillwater Road, did not show up to the scheduled hearing on Wednesday nor did his lawyer, R. David DeHerdt of Ashfield.
The meeting is continued until September, when a full board will be present after the town special election to fill the vacant seat on the three-member board.
That delay would give the town a chance to have Health Agent Richard Calisewski inspect the pig farm again, using the site assignment as a checklist for inspection.
Calisewski already inspected the property on June 14, finding the food and water adequate, the fencing in place and all animals secured in pens. The town sets rules, or a site assignment, for Romanowski to follow to keep running the farm, which has been a bone of contention in years past, with neighbors who complain about loose pigs.
It was the third time the hearing has been either rescheduled or continued.
On July 3, the board continued the hearing to this week to give DeHerdt time to speak with the pig farmer and for Romanowski to write a letter to the town confirming that he only has five animals under his care.
The pig farmer and his lawyer contend that he is no longer producing pigs for the commercial market, but is only using the swine for his personal consumption.
Romanowski did submit a letter, but the selectmen raised concerns that he did not say whether he’d notify the town if he starts the commercial pig business again.
“In his letter, he said he’d scale down to five pigs for personal consumption but he gave us no caveat if he’d tell us if he changes his mind. There needs to be a threshold,” said Selectmen Chairman Mark Gilmore.
A town lawyer recommended keeping the site assignment in place.
Gilmore said he did not want to give up the site assignment yet if that means the town gives up its control.
For 25 years, the pig farmer has argued with neighbors at the Meadows of Deerfield condominiums over many issues, from the way pigs are fed to the cleanliness of Romanowski’s property to the traffic hazard loose pigs may pose.
President of the Meadows of Deerfield, Robert Keir, believed the town “is being played” by having to keep rescheduling the hearings.
“The attorney doesn’t show up. Stanley doesn’t show up. We show up,” said Keir. “It’s extremely frustrating. The situation is much better, but we want to make sure to maintain it and prevent it from getting worse.”
Before the September hearing, the selectmen want to determine whether the town can still have a site assignment on the property and if not, whether it can at least still inspect the property.
Under the town’s Right to Farm bylaw, DeHerdt previously stated Romanowski would not need a site assignment if he’s raising pigs for himself.
You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.