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  • Writer's pictureCenter for Local Policy Analysis (CLPA)

Ordinance Spotlight: Bill to expand the definition of “Urban Farm” (PGC Council)

In September of this year, Councilmember Glaros introduced an ordinance (CB-68-2021) regarding the definition of urban farms. If enacted, this legislation would expand the definition of “Urban Farm” to include the limited keeping of fowl in chicken coops and lofts. CB-68-2021 was voted out of the Committe of the Whole by a vote of 9-0 on September 30th, but has not been brought before the full Council for a vote.

The Prince George's County Planning Board reccomended enacting this legislation with an amendment stating that the definition for "urban farm" to permit chicken coops and lofts and prohibit the slaughter of fowl for marketing. They go on to state that in their analysis that the expanded definition would allow chickens in the Reserved Open Space (R-O-S), Open Space (O-S), and multiple residenetial zones. The ordinane's inclusion of keeping of fowl in chicken coops and lofts also has the backing of the Prince George's County Soil Conservation District. The note in their letter of support that the eggs produced from the fowl will support the economic development of urban farms and provide a source of food education for the local community.

Below is the current definition of an Urban Farm. The underlined and highligted sections are what the ordinance would add. Words [highlighted in brackets] is what would be removed:

(243.8) Urban Farm: A use permitting a non-profit organization or for-profit business for the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other ornamental and edible plants; the limited keeping and raising of bees; and similar activities on residential, commercial, or industrial lands. "Urban farm" uses may include processing of agricultural product on the site of the farm where grown or raised in the course of preparing the product for sale, which may cause a change in the natural form or state of the product. Said use also includes composting, agricultural education, and incidental sales (excluding R-80 and R-55). In addition, "Urban farm" uses may occur indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to the following production methods: in-ground farming; raised-bed farming; hydroponics; controlled environment agriculture; rooftop farming; or aquaponics. Common accessory structures associated with "Urban farm" uses may include, but are not limited to: tool sheds; high tunnels; fencing; composting structures; and water cisterns , and chicken coops or lofts. Lastly, the term "Urban farm" shall not include "Agriculture"; the keeping of roosters [, fowl,] or livestock; commercial feeding of garbage or offal to animals; the slaughtering of livestock or fowl for marketing; or the disposal of sludge, except for the fertilization of crops; and, horticultural products; or floricultural products in connection with an active agricultural operation or home gardening.

If you want to learn more about this ordiance or check to see when it may come up for a vote, please contact Councilmember Glaros via email at or give her office a call at (301) 952-3060.



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