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Years of Complaints Prompt Town to Scrutinize Satur

Town finds that Cutchogue vegetable farm is a legal operation, even after years of complaints from neighbors — but those complaints are being revisited.

While a recent trip to from zoning inspector revealed no code violations, the town is still exploring its options in response to complaints from neighbors – one of whom recently called the farm a "truck depot" – that have persisted for years.

Members of the Town Board took up the issue Tuesday morning at its bi-weekly work session, with Supervisor Scott Russell asking the question driving one large point of contention between the neighbors: "How much of this is an agricultural operation and how much is a shipping operation?"

At a , John Lademann – whose front yard holds a sign that reads "STOP SATUR FARMS FROM KILLING US WITH DIESEL FUMES DUST NOISE POLLUTION" – called Satur Farms more of a shipping operation than an agricultural one. 

"I've been waiting five years for the Town Board to take action," Lademann said on Tuesday night. "This isn't farming. It's a truck depot."

Ironically, according to Section 280, Article XIX, Lademann's sign is out of compliance with the town code.

Complaints from neighbors primarily include dust, noise, and heavy use of Alvah's Lane for commercial purposes. Jim McNamara of 4000 Alvah's Ln. said on a busy day forklifts travel on the public road from one side of the farm to the other, "50 or 60 times a day."

Paulette Satur defended the farm run by her and husband Eberhard Müller on Tuesday, saying that her neighbors will "never stop complaining."

"How do they expect us to get the vegetables off the farm if they don't get taken off the trucks?" she asked. "They would be more upset if we had a farm stand."

She said use of the roadway is permitted for farm vehicles.

Satur Farms received approval for a new site plan in September of 2009 which would have moved its greenhouses further from the road. Under town code the applicants have three years to fulfill requirements. No construction has commenced, according to the town, and Satur mentioned in an interview that she is looking at "building elsewhere."

Satur noted that while she was waiting for site plan approval years back, her loan commitment dried up, leaving the farm without the proper funding to pay for the construction.

A note written in mid-May by Zoning Inspector Damon Rallis stated that precisely because no construction has taken place, "they would not be legally required to adhere to the conditions of the approved site plan."

Town Attorney Martin Finnegan said on Thursday that his office will be analyzing the case further, making sure the farm's approved uses are in line with its operations, before potentially pursuing any legal options. He did, however, rebut Satur's statement that usage of Alvah's Lane is open for farm vehicle use at will.

"You see a tractor going from point A to point B all the time around here," said Finnegan. "There's no problem with that. But to convert the town road to an extension of their operation — that's another thing."

John q public July 08, 2011 at 11:03 AM
One would be hard-pressed to consider this solely a farming operation judging by the daily pickups from the Hunt's Point Market. One wonders whether their customers know a good deal of what they're passing off as "local" Satur grown produce is in fact run-of-the-mill commodified goods that could be gotten from any distributor at s discount. Their arrogance and disregard for neighbors and customers alike is legendary.
eberhard mueller July 08, 2011 at 05:47 PM
Satur Farms is growing vegetables on 180 acres in Cutchogue and Peconic. Any farmer or gardener can tell you how much produce will be harvested from 180acres. This produce is washed and boxed in their barn on Alvah's Lane and must be shipped to their customers. Hence the commotion and trucks on Alvah's Lane.
jim mc namara July 10, 2011 at 02:14 PM
SATUR may tout NATURAL but people buying their produce and restaurants serving it may not know that they are making neighbors sick ( what a contrast from what they portray to be) with diesel fumes, dust, noise and pollution. Come see Alvahs La.
Benja Schwartz July 10, 2011 at 06:16 PM
You think everybody knows you? Are you living in Southold or NYC? You left out Florida! http://suffolktimes.timesreview.com/2011/07/15499/town-hall-notes-concerns-arise-over-satur-farms-trucks/ http://northfork.patch.com/articles/satur-farms-recalls-cilantro
Benja Schwartz July 11, 2011 at 03:10 PM
A new webpage on Satur Farms is posted on www.SaveCutchogue.com http://www.savecutchogue.com/farming_or_marketing.htm
Northforker64 July 12, 2011 at 08:28 PM
If Satur Farm is a Farm why do I keep getting bags, labels, manifests, shipping information all state being grown in Florida, California, Mexico, Texas, Germany.... and thats just a few on my front lawn?
Benja Schwartz September 05, 2011 at 04:21 PM
Satur Farms made the Daily News http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2011/09/04/2011-09-04_celeb_chefs_neighbors_complain_his_farm_is_killing_us_with_diesel_fumes_dust_noi.html
thatgirl September 06, 2011 at 06:56 PM
at least you're copping to "commotion and trucks" on alvah's lane. that's a start.
thatgirl September 06, 2011 at 07:29 PM
"natural" means nothing--it's a hollow claim most manufacturers make when they can't claim "organic". "local" is still another matter, and rarely held up to much scrutiny. "local" to where? even whole foods can't explain that. satur sprays its offerings, despoils its neighbors' quality of life, and the cost of its expensive, unsustainable plastic packaging only reinforces my zeal to avoid buying satur farms' produce, and to help others understand why they shouldn't, either.
Northforker64 January 02, 2013 at 03:53 PM
That diesel generator is still blowing full stream ahead poisoning the area homes and the residents. Its amazing that they are the only farm on Long Island operating with the ground frozen. Oh...and she wrote a check from the economic committee where she is a member to her own business for $120K? Its amazing the DEC told her she is causing harm to the neighbors and the only thing she could say is that all the farms on long island use these generators and that it is imperative to her business, basically she does not care that she is blowing toxic diesel fume into the air we breathe every day. So sad that the town and the farm bureau allowed such a business to take the place of a real farm.

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