Finding The Right Agricultural Buffer Zone

As new development replaces agricultural land, cities struggle with an appropriate buffer zone between the two uses.
April 19, 2004, 9am PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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In Santa Maria, CA property owners of a new development petitioned the city to remove an adjacent feed lot because of the offensive smell. The feed lot was eventually relocated -- even though it had preceeded the development by decades. "This clash of urban development and farm operation is occurring daily in Santa Maria as city growth reaches farther into agricultural space. As a way to ease the interaction of the seemingly incompatible neighbors, the city requires 'buffers' to reduce the impact of the dust, noise and other byproducts of farming... Some in the farming community ... have raised further questions about the adequacy of the city's buffers -- which average about 100 feet from the field to the house. Sometimes the 100 feet is achieved by including little more than the road and the homeowner's yard. Santa Barbara County has a guideline for development that calls for a minimum 200-foot agriculture and urban buffer. But Santa Maria has never followed that policy, and instead looks at buffer sizes on a case-by-case basis..."

Thanks to Laura Kranz

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Published on Sunday, April 18, 2004 in Santa Maria Times
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