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Urban Farming: Better Direction

The degree to which a local government can regulate or restrict urban farming has, until recently, been unclear. However, in April the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development approved the 2014 Site Selection Generally Accepted Agriculture Management Practices (“GAAMPs”) under the Michigan Right to Farm Act, which provide better direction for local units of government.

Specifically, the GAAMPs make clear that there is no right to operate animal agricultural uses in locations that are primarily residential.  New and expanding livestock (i.e., goats, chickens, etc.) operations and facilities in primarily residential areas must conform to the local zoning requirements set by individual communities.  The Commission defines a “primarily residential” area as having “more than 13 non-farm residences within 1/8 mile of the site or have any non-farm residence within 250 feet of the livestock facility.”

These new siting requirements apply to any new or expanding livestock facility, which is broadly defined as a facility where any farm animals are kept. Communities wishing to allow animal agriculture in primarily residential areas may do so as a permitted or special use as the community deems appropriate.

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