New Law Could Grow Urban Agriculture Across California

Community gardens and small-scale farms could soon start sprouting in California's cities thanks to a new law that allows municipalities to lower property taxes on small plots of land in exchange for at least five years of agricultural use.

"Legislation recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown will allow municipalities to lower the assessed value — and property taxes — on plots of three acres or less if owners pledge to dedicate them to growing food for at least five years," reports Lee Romney. "The program is voluntary: Interested cities can now move forward to create 'urban agriculture incentive zones.' County supervisors must then sign off. (Counties can also directly create their own zones.)"

"It passed the Senate unanimously and garnered just six no votes in the Assembly," adds Romney. "Sole opposition came from the California Assessors' Assn., which cited potential for abuse by corporate property owners who might cut deals with local government. The bill was later amended to curtail lot size."

Full Story: New California law aims to cultivate urban agriculture


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