Hamlin, N.Y.— On Monday night, at least fifty of Hamlin’s lakeshore residents and supporters of 15-year-old Joey Hofschneider attended the town board meeting in hopes of a solution.
Joey was forced to shut down the small farm stand in front of his home because of a code violation. Farm stands aren’t allowed in lakeshore neighborhoods in Hamlin.
Since then, he has garnered several supporters and many of them are upset at Joey’s next door neighbor who filed a complaint against the farm stand.
His supporters packed the room at the Hamlin Town Board. There wasn’t enough space so several people stood out in the halls for the hour-long meeting.
"It would be a travesty, a terrible, terrible travesty from him to not be able to sell his crops,” says neighbor Sandy Smith told the town board. “All he wants is a little college money. He is 15 years old."
Joey, an aspiring farmer, started the farm stand three weeks ago. He says he’s been supplying fresh produce his neighbors. Kevin Baxter, also a farmer, is Joey’s mentor and has given Joey a plot of land to grow his food.
Baxter is also the complainant’s brother.
“There has got to be someway to work this out,” Baxter pleaded with the board. “There has to be something that can be done."
In the end, the Hamlin’s Town Supervisor Thomas Breslawski said there was nothing that could be done about the farm stand immediately. He told Joey’s supporters that he wanted to avoid a “kneejerk” reaction to this issue. Instead, he said the code needs to be reviewed in the fall.
“[I suggest] that we take this to our zoning code meetings this fall,” Breslawski says. “We have to decide here in Hamlin, how much do we want to limit the personal freedoms of people and a small farm stand like this? I think as a town board we have to decide if this is something worth regulating."
Many of Joey’s supporters left the meeting upset that the issue was left unresolved and minimally discussed.
Joey says he was disappointed the board could not offer a solution. He says that he will continue to sell his produce door-to-door. For the time being, he will wait and hope that the board changes the code in his favor in the fall.