Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone Accepting Applications
Long Beach’s new Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone (UAIZ) Program is now accepting applications. Vacant lot owners in Long Beach could 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.
“As a leading city for sustainability, this program is a testament to Long Beach’s commitment to expanding access to green space,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “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 3 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,” said Vice Mayor Rex Richardson. “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, City Council requested City staff to explore the feasibility of implementing the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Program, an item sponsored by Vice Mayor Rex Richardson, Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, Former Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal, and Councilmember Roberto Uranga.
“This initiative supports sustainability within our community by helping to increase access to healthy foods for residents and reducing emissions from food transportation,” said Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez.
“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,” said Councilmember Roberto Uranga.
City Council passed the UAIZ ordinance last month, creating the program and updating the City zoning code to adopt urban agriculture uses. The UAIZ program provides opportunities for economic growth, community development, and increased access to local organic produce while reducing blight on vacant properties.
“The program is now open and we are looking forward to possibly getting our first contract through this year,” said Larry Rich, Sustainability Coordinator. “These vacant lots have the potential to provide great community benefits, and we hope to help realize them through urban agriculture.”
The UAIZ Program will help match vacant lot owners with local farmers and gardeners to run agricultural programs on eligible lots. Local farmers and gardeners interested in this program should check the City’s UAIZ Program page regularly, and sign up at http://www.longbeach.gov/sustainability/programs/uaiz-program/, for updates on current opportunities to farm UAIZ eligible lots.
The City of Long Beach Office of Sustainability works to create a more sustainable community by engaging with individuals, neighborhoods and government to reduce our impact on the environment and protect our local natural resources. Our mission is to provide policies and programs that advance environmental stewardship, support local sustainability practices, and create a more livable and resilient Long Beach. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @sustainablelb.