For ten years, Randy Brown has farmed in New Canaan as "Uncle Buck." Operating as a tenant farmer he has planted gardens of flowers and vegetables on property owned by others, which he has then sold at the and .
This fall, neighbors of the property on Oenoke Ridge Rd. where Brown has been farming, filed a complaint with . The neighbors, Kathy and Peter Streinger, said that Brown was operating a commercial farm without a permit, and that his activities had caused them a, "significant private nuisance," according to an email sent to Kleppin on Dec. 15.
Kleppin, sent a letter to the owners of the property Brown farms, which said that the activities taking place required a special permit from . It also said that a failure to cease farming operations prior to obtaining the permit would result in, "formal enforcement action."
"In the ten years I have worked to bring agriculture back into New Canaan, I have had issues with landowners and neighbors before," Brown said in a Dec.21 email to Kleppin, "We knew it was the vulnerable part of our business model, acting as tenants rather than owners, but we always had faith in the knowledge that our willingness to compromise and be sensitive to any concerns that arose would be enough in most cases to work things out."
For their part, the Streingers, in the Dec. 15 email to Kleppin said, "we also do not want to hurt anyone or cause any financial harm to their business. But as you indicated, this is indeed a 'business' for our neighbor. A business for which they have no right to be operating and which has caused a significant private nuisance to us."
In phone calls Thursday, the Streingers said that the farm had grown in the last two years from a "few rows of flowers" to encompass, "every square inch" of the property, requiring the use of large farm equipment.
Brown's email to Kleppin said, "that their complaint was based on a moment in time and would ultimately be seen through."
Nonetheless, Brown said, "we are withdrawing our intent to answer the complaint, and going out of business. If this can happen here, it can happen anywhere in New Canaan, and I cannot start over again with that threat in the background."
(Editor's Note: Randy Brown is a contributor to New Canaan Patch.)