LA Councilmembers Propose Action to Encourage and Expand Urban Farming

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Councilmembers Curren Price and Felipe Fuentes introduced a motion Wednesday calling on the City of Los Angeles to allow private landowners who convert their vacant property into urban farms to receive a property tax adjustment. The Councilmembers are requesting City departments to implement the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act (AB 551, Ting), which was approved by the state Legislature last year. Under AB 551, private property owners who lease their land to a commercial or non-commercial agriculture enterprise for at least five years can receive a temporary property tax adjustment. Their land would be reassessed at the average statewide irrigated agriculture lands rate.According to the Fuentes-Price motion, the property tax adjustment is intended to incentivize landowners who are not utilizing their property to make it available for urban agriculture.

 "Representing a food desert community, I understand first-hand the need to expand food options for our residents. I have also seen the impact that urban farming and gardens can have on our neighborhoods, helping to bring communities closer," said Councilmember Price. "This action will help us transform underused and blighted plots of land that often attract crime into thriving green spaces, encouraging green enterprises and helping us improve the look and feel of our neighborhoods. What better way to meet our goal of building a truly Clean and Green city."

Parcels would be eligible for the incentive if they are between 0.10 and 3 acres in size, dedicated to agriculture or animal husbandry, free of dwellings not intended for agriculture or educational purposes, and located within a zone that allows for agricultural use. The Los Angeles Food Policy Council estimates that 8,600 parcels in Los Angeles would be eligible.

 "This policy moves Los Angeles forward on many community, health and food access goals,” said Clare Fox, Director of Policy & Innovation at Los Angeles Food Policy Council. “Urban farmers need access to land and land security in order to thrive. Many low-income communities deal with blighted, vacant parcels in their neighborhoods, which could be activated with community-serving purposes such as food growing. AB 551 creates a mechanism for equitable community development through urban agriculture."

 The City and County of San Francisco implemented the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act last month. Implementing AB 551 in Los Angeles would require approval from the County Board of Supervisors. The motion introduced today also instructs City departments to coordinate with the County on the approval, establishment and implementation of Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones.

The introduction of the motion comes ahead of National Food Day later this month. Elected officials, urban farmers, and other food advocates will celebrate local food policy efforts at Los Angeles City Hall on October 21st at 8:30 a.m.

 

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