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RFD- 2936 Business Items   Item #:   4. b.    
Committee of the Whole Meeting Agenda
Meeting Date: 02/21/2017  
Title:    Urban Farming - Wolanski
Department: Community & Protective Services  
Strategic Vision Element: Where People Choose to Live - A dynamic city with an exceptional quality of life Related Goal: Citizens consistently express high levels of satisfaction with municipal services.

Request for Decision Summary
To provide Council with some high level information related to urban farming and potential impacts on city bylaws.  Additionally, the purpose is to solicit feedback from Council as to their desire for possible changes.
Proposed Motion
That the report related to considerations for changes to city bylaws for the purpose of allowing or restricting urban farming be received for information.
During the last significant update to the Animal Control Bylaw in 2014, administration considered whether changes to deal with urban farming were necessary.  Urban agriculture, urban farming, or urban gardening is the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around a village, town, or city.  The concept of urban farming has gained traction over the last number of years as individuals and communities look for ways to introduce more fresh, alternative, and local food choices that contribute to the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of an urban centre.

Most of the discussion on the matter has centered around "urban chickens" or beekeeping; however, it goes much further than that.  Many municipalities, including recently the Town of Stony Plain, have developed legislation and pilot projects to gauge interest and to develop proper control over urban farming.  As mentioned, City administration discussed the matter several years ago; however, it was determined that since there were not any requests or complaints from the community that we would not introduce bylaw changes at the time and re-evaluate in the future.  

With the introduction of pilot projects in neighboring municipalities, the City has seen a slight increase in questions as to whether or not the City allows for urban farming (again most notably for "urban chickens").  In answering said questions administration consulted with several City departments and legal counsel.  It was determined that there may be some ambiguity in our existing bylaws.  As such, it was determined that it would be appropriate to discuss the matter with Council conceptually before proceeding to either prohibit or regulate urban farming in the City of Spruce Grove. 
The intent is to gauge feedback from Council as to whether or not the City would like to consider allowing and regulating urban farming.  Although there may be some ambiguity currently, especially when it comes to enforcement, legal counsel has indicated that it is prohibited in the city.  If this appeared to be the direction, administration would propose changes to remove any of the lack of clarity on the matter.  If the direction appeared to move towards consideration of allowing urban farming in the City on a greater scale, administration would then work on proposed options and legislation to regulate.  
This issue involves several areas of the City including planning, enforcement, and sustainability to name a few.  Depending on feedback from Council, administration would work together to determine appropriate changes (will most likely reside within the Land Use Bylaw but also include Animal Control clarity).  The complexity of larger scale changes may be best suited as a Corporate Plan initiative due to the effort involved or tie in to existing or new strategies (i.e. social sustainability, environmental, economic, etc.).
Depending on the feedback provided by Council to administration.
The impacts to administration and the community will also be dependent on the discussion with Council and general direction.

No file(s) attached.

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