Agricultural Use Updates

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History of the Proposed Amendments

In May 2021, City staff presented a recommendation to City Council for proposed amendments to the Land Development Code’s agricultural use regulations. The recommendations were made to encourage hobby farming and local food production. Based on Council’s discussion and direction from the May 25, 2021 workshop, a  draft went before Council in July. The legislation had its first reading on July 20, at which time Council forwarded it to Planning Commission. Planning Commission will discuss the proposed amendments at its August 9 meeting.

Summary of Proposed 2021 Agricultural Use Updates

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See the full draft of proposed Agricultural Use Updates here. 

Hobby Farms vs. Large Scale Commercial Farms – Section 1206.03 Accessory Uses; 1213.02 Definitions

  • Issue: The current LDC standards do not differentiate between small scale hobby farms and commercial farms.
  • Amendment: A separate section would be created within Section 1206.03, specific to hobby farms that are accessory to a residential use. This section consolidates and updates existing LDC regulations for residential greenhouses, composting, horses, and chickens with the addition of regulations for beekeeping and roadside stands. A separate definition for hobby farms would also be created.

Backyard Chickens – Section 1206.03 Accessory Uses

  • Issue: The LDC is currently restrictive, requiring a one-acre minimum lot and significant setbacks to have backyard chickens. Many of Hudson’s subdivision lots are approximately ½ acre in size.
  • Amendment: The requirement for a minimum lot size would be removed and the required setbacks would be reduced.

Apiculture (Beekeeping) – Section 1206.03 Accessory Uses

  • Issue: Interest in backyard beehives has grown in Hudson, though they are only permitted as a general agricultural use.
  • Amendment: A draft ordinance has been proposed allowing beehives on all residential properties, pursuant to required setbacks, limits on number of hives, orientation, and upkeep. Staff notes the draft regulations were also submitted to the Summit County Beekeepers Association and the Ohio Apiary Program for review and comment.

Raised Garden Beds – Section 1201.07 Rules of Measurement

  • Issue: During COVID, staff observed an increased number of raised bed residential gardens. Current regulations prohibit any structure, including raised garden beds from being located within a setback.
  • Amendment: Raised garden beds would be added to the code section regulating features allowed within a setback. Raised garden beds would be permitted to have a height of up to 24 inches and would be required to be in a side or rear yard, set back at least three feet from a property line.

Use Allowances for Agriculture as a Primary Use – Section 1206.06 District 3: Outer Village Residential Neighborhood; 1205.11 District 8: Industrial/Business Park; 1206.01 Table of Permitted Uses

  • Issue: Staff reviewed the permitted use table for general agricultural operations across all zoning districts.  General agricultural operations are large farming operations and do not include hobby farms. The following changes are proposed.
  • Amendment District 1: Within the use table, general agricultural operations would be changed from a permitted use to a conditional use. This is likely an error in the current code, as Section 1205.01 identifies the use as conditional.
  • Amendment District 3: general agricultural operations are a conditional use if it involves the keeping of animals, otherwise agricultural is a permitted use. The use table and associated district standards would be amended to make all general agricultural operations conditional uses. District 3 contains many residential subdivisions, which could potentially be impacted by a commercial farm. The addition of hobby farms within District would ensure the city is supporting farming efforts at an appropriate scale within the district. 
  • Amendment District 8: General agricultural operations would be changed from a conditional to a permitted use. District 8 is located adjacent to rural residential zoning, and farming is generally accepted as a type of industry.
  • Amendment District 9: Within the use table, general agricultural operations would be changed from a permitted to a conditional use. This was likely an error in the code, as Section 1205.12 identifies the use as conditional.

Farmer’s Roadside Stands – Section 1206.03 Accessory Uses

  • Issue: Local farms and producers have limited ways to distribute locally
  • Amendment: A draft ordinance has been proposed allowing roadside stands in District 2 pursuant to required setbacks, size, hours/time of operation, lighting.

Clarification for Barns – Section 1206.03 Accessory Uses

  • Issue: The LDC permits barns to have a maximum building footprint of 10,000 square feet; however, the code is not clear when this can be applied.
  • Amendment: A clarification was added to only allow barns when associated with general agricultural operations.

Setbacks for General Agricultural Uses – Section 1207.19 Special Development Standards

  • Issue: Current agricultural use setbacks are substantial and limit the functionality of large lot parcels with narrow lots and considerable depth.
  • Amendment: Required setbacks would be reduced.

Fencing and Hoop House Design–Architectural Design Standards and Section 1203.02

  • Issue: Hoop houses and fencing for general agricultural operations are not addressed in the architectural design standards.
  • Amendment: Design standards were established to permit mesh wire and cable wire fencing for general agricultural operations. Hoops houses would be excluded from typical design standards