Urban Agriculture

Council Objective:

The City Council requested for staff to review current regulations regarding certain “quality of life” issues and forward recommendations.  For this analysis, “Quality of life” issues primarily include activities commonly associated with:

  • Landscaping
  • Gardening
  • Farming

which take place in an urban/suburban environment such as Olivette.

More specifically, the Council has been discussing the keeping of roosters, planting of bamboo, and increase in prairie landscaping over the course of the last year.  At the August 4, 2020, Council work session, staff narrowed the scope and walked the Council through a process to help frame the discussion so as to engage the Planning and Community Design Commission to develop ordinance regulations.  

 For instance:

  • The Council is asking for regulations regarding the permitting of chickens and bees. The Council is not asking the Commission to take up other farm animals, dogs/cats, or the issue of noise. (Noise and the permitting of dogs/cats are regulated in other sections.) 
  • The Council would like to see a regulation that requires permitting of chickens and bees and that does not allow roosters. The Council is not requesting the Commission determine what to do with roosters currently residing in Olivette. 
  • The Council is requesting the Commission establish regulations concerning the planting of bamboo. The Council is not asking that the Commission expand the regulation to other invasive plants. 
  • The Council is requesting the Commission establish regulations of converting entire yards to prairie or native landscaping.

In all cases, the Council would like to see a permitting process that requires residents to submit a plan that states their intent, shows their knowledge, and contains an exit strategy.

The goal of this analysis is to ensure such activities are managed in a means to be compatible with the Community’s values, including but not limited to: character, principles, and established urban/suburban environment.

COMMISSION'S WORK.  Over the past several months, the Commission has been working on drafting regulations for the Council's review.  The framework for these regulations have been developed to:

  1. Recognize the balance necessary to regulate traditional agriculture activities within a single-family residential urban setting.
  2. Establish defined community parameters for urban agriculture activities in residential properties.
  3. To maintain neighborhood identity and ensure that minimum standards are met regarding the condition, appearance, and upkeep of Olivette community's private yard areas (i.e. hedges, grass lawns, natural green spaces, livestock pens and hives, etc.)
  4. Provide access and develop resources for residents to be informed of the investment requirements for urban agriculture.
  5. Provide an orderly exit strategy for concluding urban agriculture activities.

Council adopted regulations:

  • Chickens:  Limit, no more than 6-egg-laying hens 18-months or older
  • Roosters.  PROHIBITED.
  • Bees:  Allow no more than 3-bee hives.
  • Managed Natural Landscapes:
    • Defined perimeter.
    • 5-feet from property lines.
    • Can't be in right-of-way.
    • Limited to 25% of lot area.
  • Bamboo.  Prohibit the planting of bamboo.
  • Grandfather all pre-existing roosters and bamboo.
  • Variations:  Provide an opportunity to exceed the recommended standards and develop conditions in which the request could be considered.


Staff Report for 2021 03-04

Staff Report for 2021 02-18

Staff Report for 2021 02-04

Staff Report for 2021 01-07

Staff Report for 2020 12-03

Staff Report for 2020 11-05

Staff Report for 2020 10-15

Staff Report for 2020 10-01

References from other communities

City Manager memo dated 2020 09-16