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City mulls urban garden plan for vacant lots

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SAN DIEGO — A proposal to create an incentive for owners of vacant property in San Diego to set aside the land for urban agriculture is scheduled to go before the City Council’s Smart Growth and Land Use Committee Wednesday afternoon.

Under the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone program, property owners would be allowed to enter into contracts at least five years long with the city and county of San Diego to allow their vacant, unimproved or blighted land to be used for agricultural uses, like community gardens.

A landowner would benefit in return when a piece of property is assessed using the per-acre value of irrigated cropland in California. No zoning changes would be required.

The property would have to be between one-tenth of an acre and three acres, and all of it would have to be dedicated to agricultural use.

The county of San Diego is developing its own ordinance since the county assesses properties. The incentive program was authorized by the state Legislature in January 2014.

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