Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Notwithstanding ordinances push community gardens forward

Cincinnati City Council has passed unanimously an ordinance directing the chief building official to grant all necessary permits for Cincinnati's Urban Gardening Pilot Program, notwithstanding Sections 1403-05, 1405-05, 1409-07, 1413-05 and 1421-33 (b) of the Cincinnati Zoning Code.

Under the zoning code, "farming" is only permitted in MA Manufacturing Agriculture zones and on a limited basis in single-family zoning districts.

But many of the 9 lots do not fall under those criteria, and, because the typical zoning change process takes three to six months and would place a burden on the Department of City Planning and Buildings, the City chose to pursue notwithstanding ordinances to permit planting to begin by mid-May.

In a communication to council's Health, Environment and Education Committee, city manager Milton Dohoney Jr. said that taking this route could prevent future problems, as well.

"While this is a pilot program, which the City administration believes will be a success, it would be detrimental to modify the zoning of the properties from multi-family, commercial and manufacturing districts," he said. "In the event the program is not continued on a specific site in the future, another user would then need to petition for a zone change back to a less restrictive zoning classification."

Urban gardens have been proposed for sites in East Westwood, Hartwell, Madisonville, North Fairmount, Northside, Over-the-Rhine, South Cumminsville (2), and West Price Hill.

City administration is currently reviewing applicants for the proposed sites.

Created by vice mayor David Crowley as one of the 82 recommendations in the , the pilot program is expected to beautify the City, make fresh foods more readily available, reduce storm water runoff, reduce the costs of property maintenance, and create local jobs.

Photo credit: "Palo Alto Community Garden - Main Garden" by , courtesy of Flickr.

Previous reading on BC:
Cincinnati Farm program could be in place by spring (1/12/09)
Crowley: Make vacant City parcels available for farms, gardens (10/30/08)


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