City to unveil urban farm zoning

June 7, 2013
By

Chickens, bees and rooftop gardens may finally find a home in Jamaica Plain.

Following community pressure and talks between the Mayor’s Urban Agriculture Working Group (UAWG) and the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), several community meetings have been scheduled across the city to refine updates to the City’s zoning code to better accommodate urban agriculture.

The proposed rezoning, called Article 89, is exploring a range of ways in which the City’s zoning code can be amended to facilitate different types of urban agriculture, including commercial ground-level and rooftop farms, backyard keeping of hens and bees, and aquaculture and hydroponics.

Aquaculture is the raising of fish and other aquatic life. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in water instead of soil.

Eleven meetings and a Twitter chat have been scheduled through June and July. Jamaica Plain will host one on Tues., June 18 at English High School.

The proposed Article 89 would allow up to 1 acre of ground-level farming anywhere in the city, as well as allowing small-scale rooftop gardens, hydroponics installations and large-scale composting. Backyard keeping of hens and bees would remain a “forbidden use” in the proposed change, meaning that the animals could be allowed if a zoning variance is issued by the zoning Board of Appeals.

The BRA’s urban agriculture initiative website is bit.ly/BRAagri.