Tucson plans for growing urban agriculture movement - Tucson News Now

Tucson plans for growing urban agriculture movement

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Urban agriculture is a popular trend sprouting up around the United States and planners with the city of Tucson are planting some rules for farmers inside city limits.

The Old Pueblo doesn't have a set list of guidelines about farming in the city, because it's always been associated with the country or large, commercial production, according to Principal Planner Adam Smith.

"Our code just does not cover it right now and we need to clarify and fill the holes where they are now," he said.

The updated regulations are meant to improve the urban agriculture experience and increase availability of sustainable food, according to Smith.

However, some comments from a crowded audience Tuesday night questioned the need for updating the city's policies.

"We know not everybody is going to be pleased," said Smith.

Changes to the limits for keeping small animals raised some concerns, specifically reducing the number of chickens from 24 to 8.

"Most of the issues have been around small farm animals,"said Smith.

He explained that the growing movement of urban agriculture needs to be clearly explained for everyone so that regulations are not ignored in the future. The limits on farm animals is meant to keep them safe from neglect or abuse.

"You'd like to think that everybody is completely responsible in their raising in whatever it is, but that's not always the case,"said David Dobler, who sat in on Tuesday's information session.

Smith stressed that city staff has been working on these changes with stakeholders for about a year now, but that does not mean they're set in stone.

"This is one of those areas where we try to find some middle ground," he said. "We can always go back and amend the ordinance."

Another information session is planned for June 10.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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