Urban-agriculture program accepting applications from local residents

Long Beach residents can now submit their applications for the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone (UAIZ) Program, which would allow vacant-lot owners in the city to be eligible for a property-tax reduction by committing their lot to urban agriculture for five years.
Urban-agriculture projects include many types of farming activities, including community and educational gardens, as well as commercial farms with farm stands, which provide economic and educational opportunities to the community, according to the City of Long Beach.
“As a leading city for sustainability, this program is a testament to Long Beach’s commitment to expanding access to green space,” Mayor Robert Garcia said. “This program will activate vacant lots and provide new sources of healthy produce to the community.”
To qualify for the program, vacant lots must:

Be between 0.10 to three acres in size.
Have no habitable structures; all on-site structures must be accessory to agricultural use.
Not have any part of the lot listed on the Department of Toxic Substance Control’s EnviroStor Database.
Be within Long Beach City limits and comply with City zoning codes.

“I encourage all vacant lot owners to take advantage of this rare opportunity,” Vice Mayor Rex Richardson said. “This UAIZ program creates a win-win situation, fostering economic growth in Long Beach while paving way for more locally grown produce.”
On May 10, 2016, the Long Beach City Council requested City staff to explore the feasibility of implementing the UAIZ Program, an item sponsored by Richardson, 1st District Councilmember Lena Gonzalez, 7th District Councilmember Roberto Uranga and former vice mayor Suja Lowenthal.
“This initiative supports sustainability within our community by helping to increase access to healthy foods for residents and reducing emissions from food transportation,” Gonzalez said.
“I am in full support of the UAIZ ordinance, because I want to see a cleaner, healthier Long Beach and this program helps prevent vacant lots becoming eyesores due to issues like illegal dumping,” Uranga said.
The city council passed the UAIZ ordinance last month, creating the program and updating the City zoning code to adopt urban-agriculture uses.
“The program is now open, and we are looking forward to possibly getting our first contract through this year,” said Larry Rich, the City’s sustainability coordinator. “These vacant lots have the potential to provide great community benefits, and we hope to help realize them through urban agriculture.”
Local farmers and gardeners interested in the program can visit longbeach.gov/sustainability/programs/uaiz-program/ or contact the City’s Office of Sustainability at sustainability@longbeach.gov or (562) 570-6396.

Source: City of LB

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