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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 4 years ago

Winter Garden commission considers regulations for urban farms

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The regulations, if approved Aug. 24, would establish formal zoning districts for such farms.
by: Gabby Baquero News Editor

WINTER GARDEN – City leaders approved the preliminary reading of a proposed ordinance that addresses the permitted locations for urban farms within city boundaries.

The proposed ordinance, 17-21, had its first reading during the Aug. 10 commission meeting and will see its second reading Aug. 24 for final adoption into the city’s Code of Ordinances.

The proposed city law will permit urban farms in certain zoning districts: arterial commercial districts, light industrial and warehousing districts and general industrial districts. Until now, the city had no formal ordinance in place pertaining to urban farms.

“Technically, we didn’t have agricultural zoning, so they had only been allowed where they’d been grandfathered in historically, i.e. they’d already been there,” Winter Garden City Manager Mike Bollhoefer said. “So our code didn’t really allow them — it was just absent from the code. That’s why we did this.”

As defined in the city’s proposed ordinance, an urban farm is “an establishment where food or ornamental crops are grown or processed to be sold or donated that includes, but is not limited to, outdoor growing operations, indoor growing operations, vertical farms, aquaponics, aquaculture, hydroponics and rooftop farms.”

The city hopes establishing regulations for where urban farms may be permitted will help encourage the creation of more farms in its limits. 

“We’re doing our Tucker Ranch farm, which is going to have a few acres of farm, and we’d like to encourage smaller farms,” Bollhoefer said. “Bekemeyer: they have a little 20-acre farm on Story Road, and Matthew’s Hope is getting ready to build a farm on Ninth Street. So … we need this code so that can all happen.”

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Contact Gabby Baquero at [email protected]

 

 

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