There are 4,700 vacant housing units, 1,900 abandoned units and 9,500 residential properties with what the Erie Planning Commission politely calls “signs of moderate to severe distress.”
By The Editorial Board
Feb 23, 2017
So we welcome news that the Planning Commission, spurred by forward-looking residents, has recommended to Erie City Council a zoning amendment to permit urban agriculture and farm markets in certain residential neighborhoods. Under current rules, agriculture is limited to areas designated for “light manufacturing.”
As detailed by Erie Times-News reporter Kevin Flowers, the proposed amendment creates the opportunity for two types of urban agriculture — an “urban garden,” where crops can be grown, carted away and sold or donated; and a “market garden,” a special exception use that allows for crops to be sold or donated at the site. The amendment authorizes construction of farm stands to sell the produce, provided the structures meet size, placement and maintenance rules.
It importantly considers surrounding property owners’ rights. Zoning Hearing Board approval would be required to establish a market garden and farm stand. The board would consider whether it meets a community need without adversely affecting the neighborhood — no tall weeds or smelly compost, among other things, are allowed.