Community Garden Rules Eased in New Zoning Code

Without comment or debate Tuesday, Raleigh City Councilors unanimously approved a change to the Unified Development Ordinance that allows community gardens in more parts of the city.

Community garden advocates have been lobbying the city to expand the areas where community gardens are allowed by writing the change into the new Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). Councilors are in the process of reviewing the UDO, a rewrite of the entire zoning code.

Community gardens are gardens that take up an entire piece of property. Now, such gardens are only allowed in mixed-use districts and on properties that are already occupied by something else. A garden can't be the principle use for a property.

In addition, garden operators must apply for a special-use permit that includes a $200 permit fee and a quasi-judicial hearing.

The approval Tuesday means that if the UDO is adopted, community gardens will be allowed in R10 districts as a limited use. Operators will only have to seek approval with city planning staff instead of going through a special hearing process.

R10 allows up to 10 residential units per acre.

The city will also appoint a staff person to act as a liaison between community garden operators and the city.

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