By Joe Naiman
Updates to the county’s Zoning Ordinance including provisions that allow for community gardens, agricultural tourism, and community identification signs over roads have the support of the county supervisors.
“It does make a number of improvements,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “We’re cutting red tape with this action.”
The changes allow community gardens in zones where field and row crops are allowed.
Community garden is defined as an area of land that may be arranged into multiple plots and used to grow and harvest food crops by individuals or members of a group.
“Allowing community gardens will increase access to fresh produce,” Jacob said.
Hours of operation are between sunrise and sunset, and at least two off-street parking places will be required if inadequate on-street parking exists adjacent to the garden property.
Accessory structures such as storage sheds for tools and other supplies, greenhouses, and agricultural stands will be permitted subject to other zoning regulations.
Trash and recycling receptacles will be required on-site with the receptacles being screened from adjacent properties by solid fencing 6 feet high, and refuse will be removed regularly.
On-site sale of produce or plants is allowed only from a permitted agricultural stand.
The amendments allow agricultural tourism on properties with a commercial agricultural operation.
That designation allows visitors to harvest their own produce and allows on-site tours, instruction, demonstrations, and lectures as well as participation in agricultural operations.
“This will provide local farmers a greater ability to utilize their lands,” Jacob said.
Agricultural tourism is allowed on all lots with rural residential, limited agriculture, general agriculture, holding area, and general rural zoning.
Adequate off-street parking for all employees and customers is required, no parking on private roads is allowed, and amplified sound is prohibited.
A community identification sign can be located over a road.
“The change would allow for signs similar to what we see over Main Street in El Cajon,” Jacob said.
The temporary use regulations for circuses, carnivals, and other outdoor entertainment events were amended to require at least 14 days between events, as were the provisions for temporary gatherings for a civic, fraternal, or religious assembly.
The Zoning Ordinance section on wind turbine systems had limited the height of a small wind turbine system to 60 feet, defining height as the distance from the ground to the top of the blade in the vertical position.
The change defines height for a wind turbine mounted on the roof of a structure as the height of the structure at the location the turbine is mounted plus the distance from the roof surface to the top of the blade in vertical position.
The amendments clarify that day care for dogs is considered a kennel use and that the boarding or grooming of animals can be allowed as an accessory to veterinary use designations.
Grooming for kennel animals being boarded is now allowed as an incidental use if the grooming services are performed indoors and the grooming area does not exceed 500 square feet.