Urban Farming to Become Part of Boise City Code

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Urban farms, community gardens and produce stands may finally have a place to call home within the Boise City Code.

The Urban Agriculture Committee will present preliminary recommendations to Boise's City Council this afternoon. The committee was formed in anticipation of Boise’s new comprehensive plan to create standards relating to agriculture within city limits, including farms, livestock, beekeeping and poultry. Currently, Boise City Code does not identify these, making regulation more challenging.

“A lot of this stuff has been operating in sort of a no-man's land,” said Cody Riddle of Boise City Planning and Development Services. “There’s been more and more demand for these types of things, and we want to stay ahead of the curve.”

Riddle also said the city doesn’t want to create a bunch of complicated standards, just a clear and concise set of rules. The committee has been looking at municipalities that have urban agriculture already on the books to find what works in those cities, and what doesn’t.

The committee’s preliminary recommendations include several standards for community gardens and urban farms, as well as groups in the area that could be beneficial in crafting the final code, such as the Treasure Valley Beekeepers and the Idaho Humane Society. The recommendations also note the importance of an informational brochure that should be created to outline ordinance requirements and provide resource information for potential urban farmers and their neighbors.

The committee is expected to present recommendations to neighborhood associations and public agencies to get their input. After those opinions are added, city staff will work with the committee to draft appropriate ordinance amendments. Riddle says if everything goes smoothly, Boise may see changes as soon as this summer or early fall.

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