HELP FIX COUNTY ZONING TO ALLOW OUR HOOPHOUSE!!
Updated: Apr 1, 2019
Hello Friends, Family & Neighbors,
I hope that this email finds you well!
As some of you may know, certain elements of my development plans for New Brooklyn Farms have been hindered by indirectly prohibitive Prince George’s County zoning and permitting rules – most notably the construction of a 30’x40’ high tunnel hoophouse which would allow us to scale up production of fresh & local herbs, flowers, and produce in the growing space significantly.
In late 2016, following years of efforts spearheaded by PG County Urban Farm ECO City Farms, legislation went into effect permitting urban farms to operate in certain residential zones of PG County. A tax credit was also established at this time for property used for similar urban agricultural purposes. However, the county’s economically thriving Gateway Arts District corridor (where New Brooklyn Farms is located) was inadvertently omitted from the areas affected.
In early 2017, under guidance of the PG County Soil Conservation District and the University of MD Extension, New Brooklyn Farms passed a site feasibility and soil sample assessment, received an approved soil conservation plan, and was awarded a grant for the purchase of a 30’ x 48’ high tunnel hoophouse from the USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
In early 2018, New Brooklyn Farms applied for a building permit with the PG County Department of Permitting Inspections and Enforcement (DPIE) to begin construction on the hoophouse. Despite DPIE staff’s admission of unfamiliarity with hoophouse construction in residential areas and lack of precedence to compare my application against, I was later denied due to not meeting criteria of existing rules for the seemingly closest building category – “accessory structures.”
And finally this month, in response to New Brooklyn Farms’ zoning and permitting troubles and collective counter- efforts by urban ag proponents at the Maryland National Capitol Park & Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), the University of MD Extension, the PG County Food Equity Council (PGFEC), the PG County Soil Conservation District and fellow local agriculture business professionals and supporters, PG County Councilwoman Deni Taveras has proposed a legislative resolution that would allow New Brooklyn Farms and all future urban farming professionals/entrepreneurs located in the PG County Gateway Arts District to fearlessly move forward!
Here is the resolution description (also available on the web via this link):
CR-17-2019: (Taveras) A resolution for the purpose of directing the Prince George’s County Planning Board of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission to initiate a minor amendment to the Gateway Arts District Development District Overlay (D-D-O) Zone Development District Table of Permitted Uses within the 2004 Sectional Plan and Section Map Amendment for the Prince George’s County Gateway Arts District to permit Urban Farm uses in the Traditional Neighborhood (TRN) Character area of the Gateway Arts Development District.
A joint public hearing has been scheduled and will take place on April 30, 2019, for which all local property owners should have received mail communication regarding.
Today, I seek your support via one (or a combination of any) of the following efforts toward an undeniably favorable showing at the upcoming hearing:
• signature of the New Brooklyn Farms e-petition (link to sign HERE)
• formal letter of support on behalf of yourself and/or your affiliated organization (send email or Word Doc/PDF with affiliated organization letterhead to Grow@newbrookynfarms.com)
• written testimony on New Brooklyn Farms’ societal and/or commercial value
• in-person attendance and/or testimony at the joint public hearing (link to schedule public testimony here)
Thank you in advance for your support!! Please feel free to share as far and wide as possible!!!
Doug Adams – Founder, New Brooklyn Farms