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Urban Farming in Nashville

How to do it--legally!

Sarah Johnson

on 6 December 2012

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Transcript of Urban Farming in Nashville

You can do it! Urban Farming in Nashville Things you'll need to figure out Congratulations! Nobody is going to throw you in jail for having a farm. Here are some additional Resources. Where are you going to farm?
Is it legal to farm there?
What paperwork do you need to complete?
How much will the process cost?
What restrictions and regulations are relevant for your property?
Where are you going to sell stuff? What kind of rules exist about that? Let's find out! OK, but am I actually
allowed to farm here? Get out your crayons. (Or scented markers. Your choice). Time to Draw! Now all you have to do is start your farm! No problem, eh? Phew. That was fun! Funding: NCAT has a list of grant opportunities open to farmers in Tennessee https://attra.ncat.org/calendar/funding.php?s=tennessee&submit=Search
Marketing: SPIN Farming (http://www.spinfarming.com/) offers great tips for making a lot of money off of a very small farm.
Training: UT Extension is doing a two-day workshop in February on how to start a small farm. (https://ag.tennessee.edu/news/Pages/NR-2012-11-SmallFarmWorkshop.aspx)
Tools: Home Depot rents tillers. (http://homedepotrents.com/diyTools/)
Selling: Nashville Grown (nashvillegrown.org) is happy to sell anything you grow! Just shoot us an email and we'll include you in our online ordering platform. You can also consider selling at a farmers market, having your own stand, or starting a small CSA. Finding Land Potential places to farm: Your backyard Your neighbor's backyard http://www.sharingbackyards.com/browse/Washington,%20DC Your tax delinquent neighbor's backyard http://chanceryclerkandmaster.nashville.gov/portal/page/portal/chanceryClerkAndMaster/propertyTaxInformation/propertyTaxSaleSchedule Vacant public land http://www.cuyahogalandbank.org/properties.php kinsman farm, cleveland 1. How is the land zoned? http://maps.nashville.gov/propertykiva/textonly/textinput_form.asp Go to: Search for your address. Click on "View More Parcel Data" --> "Zoning" to find out your zoning code. 2. Find the code on the
district land use table. http://library.municode.com/HTML/14214/level3/CHRELACOTA_TIT17ZO_CH17.08ZODILAUS.html#CHRELACOTA_TIT17ZO_CH17.08ZODILAUS_17.08.030DILAUSTA easy URL to memorize. 3. What does it say? SE P NADA. BLANK
SPACE (OF DOOM). Permitted by right. Awesome! This is the best possible outcome. You'll need to submit plans and get a permit, but should be easy peasy. Special Exception Use. Still pretty awesome! It'll be a bit more work (and $100), but you can totally do it. Not permitted. Ok, this is kind of bad. It means that commercial community gardening is not allowed on your property. You're going to have to get it re-zoned, if you still really want to farm there. This means meeting with your council member and getting her/him to sponsor a bill on your behalf. Read all about it here: http://ds.nashville.gov/docs/ZoningProcessChart.pdf search for "commercial community gardening" Your site plan should show the location and sizes of:
Individual parking spaces
Structures (sheds, greenhouses, etc)
Setbacks for structures

Include the square footage and dimensions of the site, and the scale of your drawing (yes, it has to be drawn to scale).

Go here: http://www.nashville.gov/codes/docs/public_docs/brochure_change_of_use_permit.pdf for more info on site plans. And it's going to be OK. We're going to go visit the Department of Codes Make sure you have your site plan and at least $50. Consider taking a shower and putting on your lucky socks. Ready?

Codes is on the 3rd floor of the Howard Office Building at 700 2nd Avenue South. They're open from 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Go to the front desk and tell them you want a use permit to start a commercial community garden. You'll meet with someone, show them your plans, and they'll get the necessary approvals (from water, fire marshal, health, etc). 87% of permits are issued in one visit!

If you don't have any buildings in your plans, it should only cost $50 to get a permit. Each building is approximately $30 on top of that. And it's still going to be OK. We're ALSO going to go visit the Department of Codes But this time, you'll definitely want to put on the lucky socks and the lucky underwear, just in case.

The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) meets twice a month to review Special Exception applications. You need to submit your application to Codes 5 weeks in advance of their meeting; check our their schedule here: http://www.nashville.gov/codes/docs/bza/MeetingDates2013.pdf P SE The Site Plan The Letter The Cost The Signs The Hearing Submit 8 copies of the site plan (which must be between 8.5 x 11" and 11 x 17" in size) We recommend pasting the below conditions into a Word document and responding to each question. Print out 8 copies. Make sure your site plan reflects these answers. You can find the original language for the above here: http://library.municode.com/HTML/14214/level4/CHRELACOTA_TIT17ZO_CH17.16LAUSDEST_ARTIIIUSPESPEXSE.html#CHRELACOTA_TIT17ZO_CH17.16LAUSDEST_ARTIIIUSPESPEXSE_17.16.230OTSPEXUS 1. Landscape Buffer. If necessary, how will you create a landscape buffer between the farm and neighboring properties?
2. Lighting. Can you shield all lighting so that emitted light falls within the property only?
3. On-Site Storage and Use of Compost and Organic Matter. What will you do to make sure that compost covers no more than 10% of the property area, is shielded from view by adjacent properties, will not harbor rodents and pests, will be odor-free, and will not drain liquids into storm channels or other properties?
4. Drainage. How will you prevent water and fertilizer from draining onto adjacent properties?
5. Trash Storage. Can you fence dumpsters on at least 3 sides so they are hidden from public view?
6. Parking. The BZA will work with the traffic engineer to determine parking needs. What parking is currently available at the property? What sort of visitors do you anticipate, and how many will need parking?
7. Riparian Areas. The BZA will consider potential impacts on riparian areas of streams. If you have anything to add to inform their consideration, say so here. You will need to post signs on the yard informing neighbors notifying them of the hearing. One sign is needed per 300 linear square feet of perimeter, at a cost of $10 per sign.

The BZA will also mail notices to property owners within 300 feet of the property, and put an ad in the Tennessean on the Saturday 26 days before the hearing. At the hearing, you will present your case to the BZA (just talk through that document you prepared earlier). If there is any opposition, they'll get to speak after you. To block you, the burden is on them to provide expert proof that you failed to meet one of the considerations in the document. Then, the BZA votes. 4 of the 7 members need to vote yes in order for you to get go-ahead. The BZA fee is $100, plus $10 for each sign. Water. If you need irrigation (and rainwater collection won't do), you can create a branch off of an existing tap on the property, or create a new tap off of the street (which will cost $410-780). You'll need a permit from the Water Services Office. You can check out the fee schedule here: http://www.nashville.gov/water/docs/development/FeeScheduleInspectionAvailReview.pdf
Structures. If you're building anything on the property, including a tool shed, you need approval from Codes.
Bathrooms. If you are building something other than a tool shed, barn, greenhouse, agricultural building, or livestock shelter, you will need to include a restroom as well. Codes will let you know about this when you bring in your building plan. If members of the public will regularly be coming on site to purchase stuff, you can have a portable toilet for 90 days, but after that, you will need a restroom as well.
Animals. If you are located in Nashville, you cannot have farm animals other than chickens (not even bees!), and you can't sell eggs. If you live outside of Nashville, you can have farm animals on residential land of 5 acres or more; meat must be processed in a USDA facility and you need a permit to sell eggs.
Selling. You are allowed to sell on-site or off-site. You do not need to collect sales tax. You need domestic kitchen certification and ingredient/weight/contact labeling if you are going to cut or prepare your produce in any way. You need a permit from the department of agriculture to sell rooted plants or honey.
Buying Stuff. Farmers are exempt from TN sales tax on stuff they purchase to help produce their products. Submit this form to obtain exemption: http://www.tnfarmbureau.org/sites/default/files/F1308401%20-%20Farmers%20Application%20%28Final%29_1.pdf PS. IF you live outside Nashville ("The URban Services District") and are on residential land of 5 acres or more, agricultural activity is an accessory use on your land and you don't have to deal with the permitting process we're about to describe, unless you want to have a roadside stand. Just double check that it does indeed say "A" for accessory next to "Agricultural Activity" in your column of the Zoning table.
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