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Urban Agriculture Text Amendments at Zoning and Planning meeting, Minneapolis

Cam Gordon in his office. Photo by Chuck Olsen.

Four amendments and one motion – reaction and analysis of each

Second Ward, Minneapolis
Mar. 6, 2012
This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff.


At the end of a record-breaking Zoning and Planning committee meeting (five and a half hours long!) the committee continued the Urban Agriculture zoning code text amdendments until its next meeting on March 22nd. Before tabling it, the committee received some possible amendments that will be voted on on the 22nd. You can find them here under item 6.

I’m going to briefly describe the four amendments and one motion below, and then offer some reaction and analysis of each. The first three are from Council Member Tuthill:

1) Limit Hoop Houses to six feet, everywhere in the city. (Hoop houses are temporary season extension structures that are often constructed in half-cylinder shapes from metal braces and covered in transparent plastic sheeting.)

Analysis: this is a bad idea, for many reasons. Growers have been very clear that six foot tall hoop houses will not meet their needs, making this effectively a ban on hoop houses in the city. As such, this amendment would significantly damage our chances of having any meaningful season extension – and given our cold climate, that’s a real blow to the whole idea of local foods.

It’s interesting to note that all other accessory structures (sheds, pergolas, etc) in Minneapolis can be up to 12 feet tall. In fact, someone could construct a 12′ tall hoop house in their backyard today. These are available, as well: there are hoop house kits for sale in local stores that are over 6 feet tall.

Read the complete article here.