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File #: 19-5904    Version: 1
Type: Public Hearing
In control: City Council/Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency/Public Financing Authority/Parking Authority Concurrent
Final action:
Title: ADOPTION OF AN ORDINANCE THAT MEETS OBJECTIVE 1 IN THE FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ACTION PLAN WITH THE CREATION OF FORMAL URBAN AGRICULTURE REGULATIONS VIA AMENDMENTS TO TITLES 5, 6, 8, 13, AND 16 OF THE STOCKTON MUNICIPAL CODE
Attachments: 1. Attachment A - Food and Agriculture Plan, 2. Attachment B - PC Reso 2020-07-23-0501, 3. Attachment C - Urban Ag Ord (redlines), 4. Attachment D - Summary of Proposed Amendments, 5. Proposed Ordinance - Urban Ag

title

ADOPTION OF AN ORDINANCE THAT MEETS OBJECTIVE 1 IN THE FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ACTION PLAN WITH THE CREATION OF FORMAL URBAN AGRICULTURE REGULATIONS VIA AMENDMENTS TO TITLES 5, 6, 8, 13, AND 16 OF THE STOCKTON MUNICIPAL CODE

 

recommended action

RECOMMENDATION

 

It is recommended that the City Council:

 

1.                     Adopt an Ordinance Amending Title 5, Chapter 5.08, Section 5.08.250; Title 6, Chapter 6.04, Section 6.04.430; Title 8, Chapter 8.04, Section 8.04.010; Chapter 8.68, Section 8.68.040; Title 13, Chapter 13.04, Section 13.04.015; Title 16, Chapter 16.20, Section 16.20.020; Chapter 16.80, Sections 16.80.020, 16.80.060, 16.80.130, 16.80.135, 16.80.260, 16.80.280, 16.80.285, 16.80.350; Chapter 16.136, Section 16.136.030, Chapter 16.152, Section 16.152.040, Chapter 16.164, Section 16.164.030; and Chapter 16.240, Section 16.240.020 of the Stockton Municipal Code, Relating to Urban Agriculture

 

2.                     Authorize the City Manager to take appropriate and necessary actions to carry out the purpose and intent of this ordinance and resolution.

 

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Summary

 

The Economic Development Strategic Plan, adopted in February 2015, includes a focus on the strong food and agriculture-related assets in the region. As part of the implementation of the Strategic Plan, the Economic Development Department partnered with Valley Vision in 2016 to develop a Food and Agriculture Action Plan (Attachment A) for Stockton and the surrounding region. A formal Food and Agriculture Action Plan was presented to the City Council as an informational item on July 11, 2017.

 

The Food and Agriculture Plan identifies the development of a “policy environment that supports urban agriculture” as its first objective. An objective specifically called out in this plan is collaboratively working with the community to develop an urban ag ordinance to fit Stockton. This effort, per the Plan, is to be achieved by conducting a policy scan of relevant local policies, addressing zoning conflicts, and studying best practices elsewhere - all of which have been completed throughout the process leading to the proposed ordinance.

 

Work began on the creation of a formal Urban Agriculture Ordinance in the Spring of 2017 when Economic Development Department (EDD) staff began hosting public meetings to obtain public input. The Community Development Department later joined the effort in 2018 to assist with additional research, public outreach, and Municipal Code language. It was found at that time that to develop a thorough policy that supports urban agriculture, a multi-title code amendment was necessary. Urban Agriculture activities have the potential to impact not only land use but also water, storm drainage, and animal services. Public input received at that point indicated not only a desire to operate small scale agricultural activities appropriate for the urban environment but also the ability to keep animals such as hens or ducks. This crucial feedback led staff to further research urban agriculture trends nationwide, analyze sample ordinances from comparable agencies, and develop standards that best fit the City of Stockton.

 

City Staff conducted significant outreach with community stakeholders and the public that led to the preparation of the ordinance. Over the course of two years, public meetings were held in each Council District as well as online.  On July 23, 2020, the Planning Commission considered the ordinance as it pertains to changes to Title 16 and approved a Resolution recommending City Council’s approval of the proposed Title 16 ordinance.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Background

 

Per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), urban agriculture is an element of sustainability that strengthens local food systems. Urban agriculture can also play a role in neighborhood and city revitalization by using land that is otherwise vacant and inexpensive.  Implementing agricultural practices on a parcel can improve the environment, build amenities, revitalize neighborhoods, and have direct benefits to residents’ food access and nutrition.

 

Urban agriculture encompasses everything from community gardens to profit-making enterprises and can include beekeeping, aquaculture, and production of seeds, seedlings, and flowers. Nonprofit and for-profit agriculture in cities can increasingly be found throughout the country on vacant lots, on rooftops, and inside buildings.

 

In 2015, the Stockton City Council adopted the “City of Stockton Economic Development Strategic Plan,” which included a focus on the strong food and agriculture-related assets in the region.

 

In 2016, the City engaged Valley Vision to assist in developing a Food and Agriculture Action Plan to catalyze implementation of the Strategic Plan. As a consulting firm, Valley Vision has a long history working on a variety of food system initiatives in the region, such as the Sacramento Region Food System Collaborative and community health assessments for various local counties. The Action Plan is intended to create a roadmap that fosters a supportive enterprise ecosystem, strengthens communities by addressing food insecurity, and leverages the region’s agricultural bounty and entrepreneurial spirit to support innovation in food and agriculture.

 

The formal Food and Agriculture Action Plan was presented to the City Council as an informational item on July 11, 2017.

 

Six objectives are identified in the Food and Agriculture Action Plan:

 

1.                     Create a policy environment that supports urban agriculture.

 

2.                     Increase the amount of fresh, local produce available in existing retailers in food deserts.

 

3.                     Elevate food and agriculture through branding opportunities.

 

4.                     Expand workforce development opportunities to create a workforce that meets changing technology needs.

 

5.                     Grow value-added food manufacturing sector and opportunities.

 

6.                     Increase educational opportunities about the value of eating fresh and local.

 

The proposed ordinance is a direct result of Objective 1, “Create a policy environment that supports urban agriculture.” The Plan specifically identifies a strategy and actions in order to meet this objective; work collaboratively with the community to develop an urban ag ordinance to fit Stockton. During the July 11, 2017, Council Meeting, the City Council provided the following feedback pertaining to an Urban Agriculture ordinance:

 

                     Expressed support for creating an opportunity for residents to grow their own food and share with the community

 

                     Inquired as to whether chickens would be included.

 

                     Encouraged outreach to diverse stakeholders

 

Public comments were also supportive of the Plan and subsequent ordinance.

 

The City and community worked collaboratively to create an urban ag ordinance to fit Stockton via conducting a policy scan of relevant local policies, addressing any zoning conflicts, and studying best practices elsewhere.

 

Staff followed the above actions and Council direction by the following action steps:

 

                     Identified a variety of stakeholders

 

                     Developed an outreach list

 

                     Coordinated public meetings

 

                     Researched existing local and regional policies

 

                     Analyzed the City’s current municipal code

 

                     Reviewed programs, regulations, and policies of comparable agencies and subject matter experts.

 

The first phase of community engagement consisted of discussions to determine what the public desired in an Urban Agriculture ordinance. Various policies, programs, and ideas were presented and exchanged. The latter half of the public outreach sessions included drafts of the proposed ordinance for the public to review and provide feedback on. The draft ordinance evolved over four iterations based on feedback received.

 

In addition to public input, staff reviewed and/or consulted the following sources to develop the proposed ordinance:

 

1.                     City of Sacramento Ordinance

 

2.                     City of Pleasanton Ordinance

 

3.                     City of Detroit, MI Ordinance

 

4.                     City of Seattle, WA Ordinance

 

5.                     Cumberland County, PA Model Ordinance

 

6.                     UC Extension Los Angeles County - Community Garden Start Up Guide

 

7.                     California State Law

 

8.                     New Jersey Department of Agriculture - Beekeeping Guidelines

 

9.                     Journal of Community Health

 

10.                     Miscellaneous Scholarly Articles

 

Between March 2018 and January 2019, the City, along with Valley Vision, hosted six Urban Agriculture Community Meetings, one in each Council District.  The resulting draft ordinance encompassed all changes required for the current municipal code and incorporated stakeholder feedback to provide new opportunities for community gardens, produce stands, and other agricultural activities within an urban setting.

 

On October 24, 2019, the draft Urban Agriculture Ordinance was presented to the Planning Commission for review and recommendation. Three members of the public attended and provided comments in addition to comments received from the Planning Commission. The item was continued to allow staff to further address comments (Motion 2019-10-24-0501). Comments received identified a need to create additional categories that would allow the differentiation between residential and commercial urban agriculture activities, a request for additional analysis of the animal keeping standards portion of the proposed ordinance, and clarification of language. Given the nature of feedback received, additional ordinance edits were made, and staff coordinated a public stakeholder meeting on March 30, 2020, to discuss comments received, clarify requests, and discuss potential edits and further requests. That additional feedback resulted in more staff research and ordinance development.

 

On July 23, 2020, a revised draft was presented to the Commission for consideration. The Commission unanimously approved the recommendations via resolution 2020-07-23-0501 (Attachment B), recommending Council adoption of the proposed ordinance.

(Attachment C - Proposed Ordinance (Redline Version)). If adopted, the proposed ordinance will serve as a foundation for the Food and Agriculture Action Plan, which will assist towards addressing issues of access to fresh produce in areas within Stockton that are currently defined as food deserts.

 

Present Situation

 

Urban Agriculture activities impact numerous sections of the Stockton Municipal Code. In order to properly implement a program of this nature, an ordinance amendment is necessary to address the impacts of urban agriculture as well as lowering barriers to entry and streamlining processes for the City and residents.

 

Proposed Amendment

The following chart illustrates the proposed changes to the Stockton Municipal Code (SMC):

 

Code Section

Summary

5.08.250

Exemption from itinerant merchant requirements

6.04.430

Added Reference to Table 2.2 in SMC 16.20.020 regarding the keeping of animals.

8.04.010

Added definition of “Vacant lot”

8.68.040

Exemption from food protection requirement for open-air uses

13.04.015

Addition of: Water cross-connection prohibition and exemption for community gardens. Backflow prevention device and water meter requirement for community gardens

16.20.020

Addition of community gardens and urban agriculture land uses to Table 2-2

16.80.020

Addition of chicken/duck enclosure height limit (7’)

16.80.060

Updated Table 3-14 with categorized land uses; updated animal keeping standards and specific beekeeping standards Added language pertaining to the keeping of chickens/ducks),

16.80.130

Addition of the following to the Community Gardens section: Reference to table 2-2 Garbage and compost standard Reference to 16.56.050 regarding watering Fencing in development standard Clarification of separation requirements Community Garden Manager contact sign requirement Plot standards Storage standard Sales standards

16.80.135

New section titled “Market gardens / Urban farms”

16.80.260

Exemption from Temporary Outdoor Displays and Sales requirements for Community gardens and Urban agriculture produce stands

16.80.280

Chapter title changed to “Produce Stands, commercial” Added reference to 16.76 (Sign Standards)

16.80.285

New chapter titled “Produce stands, urban agriculture”

16.80.350

New chapter titled “Urban Agriculture”

16.136.030

Adding Community Gardens and Market Gardens/Urban Farms to Land Development Permit regulations.

16.152.040

Exemption from Site Plan review requirements

16.164.030

Exemption from Temporary Activity Permit requirements

16.240.020

Updated definition of Outdoor Retail Sales, Temporary to include community gardens, commercial and urban agriculture produce stands. Added 14 new definitions related to urban agriculture.

 

A detailed summary of each proposed amendment is attached to this report (Attachment D).

 

The proposed amendments to the Stockton Municipal Code, if adopted, also meet the first objective of the Food and Agricultural Plan as follows:

 

                     City staff worked collaboratively with community stakeholders to create an ordinance that best fits Stockton.

 

                     City Staff and Valley Vision researched local and national urban agriculture policies to identify ‘industry’ standards and apply what works best for the City.

 

                     Stockton Municipal Code conflicts were identified and addressed in order to allow for urban agriculture activities as appropriate per zoning district.

 

                     ‘Best Practices’ from other agencies and organizations were analyzed and crafted to fit Stockton’s unique needs.

 

Staff recommends that the City Council adopt an ordinance amending sections within Titles 5, 6, 8, 13, and 16 of the Stockton Municipal Code to formalize an Urban Agriculture Program; and authorize the City Manager to take appropriate and necessary actions to carry out the purpose and intent of this ordinance.

 

FINANCIAL SUMMARY

 

Waiving the Itinerant Merchant business license and temporary outdoor display permit requirements for the identified activities is not anticipated to reduce City revenues since these activities are not currently permitted. Fees for said activities would be negligible and proposed exemptions will have no impact on General Fund or Community Development revenues.

 

Attachment A - Food and Agriculture Action Plan

Attachment B - Planning Commission Resolution 2020-07-23-0501

Attachment C - Proposed Ordinance (Redline Version)

Attachment D - Summary of Proposed Amendments