A local farm is at odds with the Town of Oneonta over plans to expand their business into agritourism.

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Clapper's Maple Ridge Ranch in the Town of Oneonta contains a seasonal pumpkin patch, farm animals, hay rides, a corn maze, and an assortment of plants in the warm months. The business is looking to expand into other sectors such as agritourism via overnight campsite farm stays, but according to owner Dana Clapper, they are facing resistance from the town.

Clapper claims that two Town of Oneonta planning board members live near the ranch, and initially tried to block the Clappers from purchasing it last June. She says that an attorney was hired to force their site plan to the zoning board of appeals for review, and that officials are concerned with "traffic, noise, and change to the rural nature of the road" in reference to their expansion. Clapper went on to note that the proposed area for the 10 campsites is set back and not at all visible from the road.

Clapper's Maple Ridge Ranch via Facebook
Clapper's Maple Ridge Ranch via Facebook

Clapper says the board has repeatedly brought up the influx of baseball families, which is not their target market. The ranch is looking to engage with families interested in farming, planting, gardening, harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables, being a shepherd, processing and preparing wool for market, learning to spin, and making handmade goods on their 133 acre property. Owners wish to share their love of farming with the community. Many farms and ranches in the region engage in this kind of activity.

Clapper says that the two planning board members that are her neighbors have been relentless in preventing the ranch from moving forward with their expansion plans. She claims that local officials have bullied her and her family, suggesting that they return to where they came from.

In meeting with planning board members, Clapper says that the board was invited to the farm, and those that visited thought the ranch was perfect for what they were proposing. On the other side of the coin, Clapper claims that while they liked what they saw the board members were concerned with upsetting friends and neighbors, and are unable to give unbiased decisions. She also said that Town of Oneonta supervisor Randy Mowers has been to the property and saw no issues with their proposed plans.

Clappers Maple Ridge Ranch via Facebook
Clappers Maple Ridge Ranch via Facebook

Clapper's Maple Ridge Ranch's business plan has three pillars: horticulture, livestock, and agritourism. Clapper says they are a small farm under continuous development, and need to diversify in order to be sustainable.

Finally, Clapper had this to say: "It’s time that we get back to our basic rights as landowners. Why should some be allowed to pursue success, while others not? We are not among the chosen few."

A request for comment from Town of Oneonta supervisor Randy Mowers was not immediately returned.

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