TEC Meeting today to take action on proposed community garden regs

The following is the agenda for today’s 2:00pm meeting of the Transportation and Environmental Committee:

http://dallascityhall.com/committee_briefings/briefings0111/TEC_Combined_010711.pdf

 

The following are the provisions proposed and passed by the Zoning Ordinance Committee by a 5 to 0 vote on November 4th:

  1. A community garden must comply with the regulations for the zoning district in which the community garden is located.
  2. For a community garden in a residential district, the combined floor area of structures may not exceed 200 square feet and must be erected in the rear 30% of the lot.
  3. Animal grazing and animal production are prohibited.
  4. For a community garden in a residential district, signage is limited to a single, non-illuminated, flat sign of no more than six square feet.

Officially, the Community Gardens of Oak Cliff will not support these provisions, as they restrict the development of new gardens in urban areas where fresh fruits and vegetables are needed most by citizens on fixed and low incomes, as well as prohibits bee production which aides in the pollination and growth of all plantings in a garden.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. First, this is not an action being taken on Jan 11 at a Transportation and Environment Committee(TEC) meeting, but a notice to the TEC committee that the changes proposed by Zoning and the Planning Commission are to be voted on by the City Council on Feb 9, 2011.

    Second,there is nothing in the list of 4 provisions that would “restrict the development of new gardens.” My understanding is that zoning has been changed (or is pending) to allow crop production by community gardeners in small areas (agricultural crop production has a size minimum limit). This was discussed and passed by Zoning and Planning. I am not happy about the second provision that restricts structure size and location, but that will not prevent gardening. Bees for pollination are not included in the definition for “animal grazing and animal production,” as far as I can tell. We can live with the provision to limit sign size.

    I would suggest contacting Kevin Lefebvre, Environmental Coordinator, Office of Environmental Quality (kevin.lefebvre@dallascityhall.com) and requesting complete documentation on the community garden ordinances that have been passed or are in the works. Especially, what is the outcome of the work done by TEC, Zoning, Planning, and what exactly will the City Council be voting on. Having been to all of these meeting, I myself could probably use some clarification.

    Reply

  2. Don,

    Thanks for your comments! I believe we were just wanting to acknowledge what was in the TEC agenda on Jan 11th. I don’t see where we said there was an action being taken on that date.

    As for the size provision, restricting size does matter when it comes to a developing a new residential community garden. Many vacant lots in residential blocks of Oak Cliff are much larger than 200 square feet. If you mark of a 20 ft by 20 ft area, that’s 400 square feet, is it not? Cut that in half and that is the maximum size a community garden could be. 10 x 10 is the area I garden in my own backyard! If you have people in the neighborhood willing to garden, and without a good location, vacant lots with the property owners permission and the backing of the neighborhoods are perfect for new gardens. Not to mention, you’ll only be able to use the rear 30% of the lot. What if that area doesn’t have an full sun? You can’t plant tomatoes in full shade, like many other vegetables that people grow in their plots.

    And as for the animal restriction, it certainly seems like a honey bee would be classified as an animal. I’m sure Brandon and Susan Pollard with The Texas Honey Bee Guild would be able to clarify this for us!

    Reply

    • The ordinance does not restrict the size of a community garden. It could be several acres, or down to the tiniest little lot. A community garden is defined as a place where several people garden. It does restrict the size for agricultural uses (commercial farms) to placement on properties greater than 3 acres.

      The term structure refers to tool sheds, pavilions, and other buildings; not garden beds, trellises, cold frames, etc. So a standard innercity lot that is 50 x 150, or 7,500 sq ft could, using GICD garden building standards, have at least 20-10×24 ft garden plots.

      As per your view on bees, I have put in a request for clarification with Kevin.

      Reply

      • Don,
        Thanks for the clarification about the term structures. Looking forward, if bees aren’t included as “animals” then we can see supporting these provisions.

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