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Sparks City Council Meeting 10/12/2015

Planning and Zoning Public Hearings and Action Items: 11.1

Title: SECOND READING, Public Hearing, consideration and possible action on Bill No. 2694, an ordinance by the City of Sparks amending Title 20 to include standards for urban agriculture and other matters properly relating thereto.
Petitioner/Presenter: City of Sparks/Jim Rundle, Senior Planner
Recommendation: The Planning Commission and the Community Services Department recommend approval of CA-2-15.
Financial Impact: NA
Business Impact (Per NRS 237):
    
A Business Impact Statement is not required because this is not a rule.
Agenda Item Brief:

In 2011 the City of Sparks elected to conduct a comprehensive overhaul of the chapter of its municipal code which governs zoning and development (Title 20).  This comprehensive overhaul was recently approved this August.  The original draft included a proposal permitting Urban Agriculture in certain zoning districts in the City.  A second component of the Urban Agriculture section proposed permitting chickens and apiaries (bee hives) as accessory uses.  The City Council removed however, the urban agriculture component from the zoning code it approved on August 24, 2015 to dedicate more time for this specific component.

At the June 18, 2015 Sparks Planning Commission meeting, the board voted unanimously to forward a recommendation of approval to the Sparks City Council.



Background:

In 2011 the City of Sparks elected to conduct a comprehensive overhaul of the chapter of its municipal code which governs zoning and development (Title 20).  Title 20 regulates the use and improvement of land while controlling the location, soundness and use of structures located thereon.  Prior to the decision by the City Council to embark on this process, discussions and even direction had been provided to staff to research and propose standards for the Council to consider permitting Urban Agriculture, including chickens and bee hive as accessory uses in residential districts.

Through the development of the “new” zoning code staff also developed standards for an Urban Agriculture chapter.  This chapter developed through consultation with our consultant Mark White of White and Smith in Kansas City, and numerous stakeholders.

There were two meetings with stakeholders interested in the Urban Agriculture component of the zoning code.  The proposal allows for Urban Agriculture as a primary use and allows chickens and bees as accessories to established residential uses.  The second meeting, which was noticed through Sparks’ media outlets, and held at the Sparks Police Department, was a success in that all those attending were able to reach a consensus on how they would like to see the draft go forward through the public hearing process.

At its June 18, 2015 meeting, the Sparks Planning Commission reviewed and forwarded a recommendation of approval of the zoning code in its entirety, including the Urban Agriculture chapter, to the Sparks City Council.

The City Council considered the zoning code in its entirety at a public hearing on August 24, 2015 and, in a vote of 3-0, approved the “new” zoning code with various amendments including removal of the Urban Agriculture component.  The City Council directed staff to bring back the Urban Agriculture component for further consideration at a public hearing on October 12.



Analysis:

When the City Council directed staff to initiate a complete overhaul of the City’s zoning code the Council also directed specific amendments to the code including but not limited to changing expiration dates to entitlements, modifying the Transit Oriented Development corridor, creating methods to provide staff more discretion, and asking staff to research and propose standards for the City Council to consider Urban Agriculture as a permitted use in Sparks.

As proposed, Urban Agriculture is more extensive than simply permitting chickens and apiaries in Sparks, but rather would be a site operated and maintained by a group to cultivate trees, herbs, fruits, vegetables, flowers, or other ornamental foliage for the following uses: personal use, consumption, donation or off-site sale of items grown on the siteAlso permitted would be crop/limited agriculture, defined as an area of land managed and maintained by an individual or group of individuals to grow and harvest food crops, horticultural and limited animal products (including flowers, trees, bees and apiary products, and chickens) for off-site sale in locations where retail sales are an allowed use. Crop/limited agriculture may be a principal or accessory use. Another permitted use would be community supported agriculture:, defined as an area of land managed and maintained by an individual or group of individuals to grow and harvest food and/or horticultural products for shareholder consumption or for sale or donation. This does not include a personal garden.

As proposed, Urban Agriculture would be permitted in all zoning districts (with the exception of Planned Developments) with use standards.

SEE ATTACHED TABLE FOR BILL NO. 2694

Urban Agriculture is proposed to apply to any zoning district except A40 and A5 where there is a desire to conduct Urban Agriculture as a Principal use and/or as an accessory use.  As stated above, standards are required to ensure that such a use is compatible with residential uses.  These standards apply when Urban Agriculture is conducted as a primary use; meaning that there is not a residence or operating business at the site.  If there is a residence at the site, the use may become accessory which will be discussed later.

The following standards are proposed when operating Urban Agriculture as a Principal Use:

·        Business License is obtained for the use.

·        The site has a zoning designation which includes MF, SF, MUD (RN) and MUD (MR).

·        On site sales do not occur.

*May be permitted by Conditional Use Permit.

·        All structures are in compliance with the lot and building setback standards for the respective zoning district.

·        All chemicals, fuels and farm equipment shall be stored in an enclosed, locked structure.

·        The site must be designed and maintained so as to prevent the free flow of storm water, irrigation water, chemicals, dirt or mud across or onto adjacent lots, properties, and or public right of way.

·        A residential use may be permitted as accessory to urban agriculture; the residential structure shall comply with the respective zoning districts setbacks for a primary structure.

·        The operation of the urban agriculture use shall control fugitive dust generated from the urban agriculture operation.

·        Shipping containers/Conex boxes are prohibited.

·        Livestock is prohibited except allowed by “Animals” section of this Title.

·        Any lighting shall be shielded and directed downward to avoid spilling onto adjacent property.

·        The operator of the Urban Agriculture use shall erect an informational sign a minimum of 2 feet by 3 feet in size at the main entrance to the project site with the operator’s contact information.

·        Composting for use on site shall:

(1)   Not emit an excessive odor,

(2)   Have a minimum 20 foot setback from any property line, and

(3)   Be limited to 7.5% of the parcel size.

·        Mechanized equipment shall not be operated on Sundays or outside the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

*May Be permitted by Conditional Use Permit.

The component of the Urban Agriculture that has received the most attention would be permitting chickens and bee hives as accessory uses.  While it would be possible to raise chickens and bees as a primary use at a site as described above, this proposal would permit chickens and apiary uses (bees) as an accessory use to a legally established uses in any zoning district (with the exception of Planned Developments) if the following standards are complied with:

  1. Chickens

·         Roosters are prohibited

·         Slaughter of chickens on site is prohibited.

·         The keeping of chickens is limited based on parcel size:

o   Parcel size between 0 and 2000 square feet may keep up to 2 hens

o   Parcel sizes between 2001 and 6000 square feet may keep up to 4 hens

o   Parcel sizes between 6001 and 10,000 square feet may keep up to 5 hens

o   Parcel sizes greater than 10,000 square feet may keep up to 2 hens for every 2,000 square feet of parcel size, not to exceed 16 hens

·         Chickens shall be restricted from accessing the front yard.

·         The site shall be free of excessive hen droppings and dead chickens.

·         The chickens shall be provided a covered enclosure (coop) and must be kept in the covered enclosure.  The enclosure size must accommodate 10 square feet per hen and no closer than 10 feet from the main structure.  The coop must be a minimum of 5 feet from any property line, remain within the rear yard and maintain a ten foot setback from the main structure

o   Coop shall be clean and odor free.

o   Construction of a chicken coop is exempt from the Administrative Review process.

·        If the City receives a complaint, and after being given at least 24 hours’ notice, a property owner that exercises the privilege of keeping chickens on their property agrees to allow inspections by the Administrator for compliance with the standards of this Title.

 

It is worth reiterating, in the case the proposed ordinance is approved, if a citizen chooses to exercise their right to have chickens as an accessory use, they permit the City to, after the City receives a complaint, inspect the property.

The third component of the Urban Agriculture chapter is allowing for apiary uses (bee hives) as an accessory use.  Similarly to permitting chickens as an accessory use, the apiary use could be permitted accessory to a legally established use if:

·        No hive shall exceed 20 cubic feet in volume.

·        No more than 2 hives are allowed per parcel.

·        No hive shall exceed five feet in height.

·        No hive shall be located closer than 5 feet from the property line.

·        A constant supply of water shall be provided for all hives.

·        A flyway shall be provided.

The final component of the Urban Agriculture section proposes to exempt that Urban Agriculture uses from the landscaping and parking requirements in the zoning code.

There is a growing demand nationwide for small scale agriculture activities in residential neighborhoods.  This small scale agriculture is said to provide residents access to healthy, local food.  Creating regulations in the zoning code clarifies that limited agricultural production is allowed as an accessory use or as a primary use in residential neighborhoods but ensures the agricultural practices are compatible with residential uses.



Alternatives:

The City Council may remand the proposal back to Planning Commission, modify, bisect, approve, continue, table, or deny any or all of the proposed ordinance.



Recommended Motion:

I move to adopt Bill No. 2694 amending Title 20 of the Sparks Municipal Code to include standards for urban agriculture and other matters properly relating thereto.



Attached Files:
     Bill No 2694_Urban Ag.pdf
     table for Bill No 2694.pdf
     map of proposed loc to permit urban ag.pdf
     AI 11-1 public comment documents received.pdf
     Presentation Bill No 2694.pdf
     AI 4 public comment documents received.pdf

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