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Sacramento City Moves To Establish Urban Ag Incentives


The Sacramento City Council voted last night to make the city an "Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone."

That means owners of vacant lots will be eligible for a tax break if they allow their land to be used for agriculture for five years.

For Scott Dunbar, the council decision to give a tax break to landowners who allow agriculture on their property is good news.

0807-scott-dunbar-pScott Dunbar with some of his garden crop. Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Earlier this year, he and some neighbors cleaned up a lot at 15th and G Streets and planted a community garden.

"The biggest thing was while we were working out there was how many people who stopped and said, 'Wow, this is really cool.' We had kids coming to help us. We had adults coming to help us."

After the first crop of broccoli was harvested, someone posted "No Trespassing" signs and pulled all of the plants out of the garden.

Dunbar says the garden was at risk because he had been unable to contact the trust that owns the property.

He hopes the tax break will be an incentive for the property owner to allow another garden.

Alex Morton has a backyard garden and a space in an Oak Park community garden. She supports the ordinance.

"I think there's so many little, vacant lots here and there. When I'm driving around town, I'm always looking at them thinking, 'That would make a nice farm. We could grow some trees there. Maybe we could plant some elderberries and grow elderberries and make elderberry syrup and sell that.' I think that would be a great thing."

The city's Community Development Department says the average property owner could save about $940 per year.

The ordinance limits the city's property tax losses to $250,000 during the life of the tax break.

Landowners must apply before January 2019 to take advantage of the tax break.

In addition to the tax break, a property owner could rent the land to people who agreed to farm it.

Farmers would be able to sell their produce on the property after acquiring a city permit.