6 Tips on How to Navigate the Zoning Process
If you’re looking to bring an LGM to your local community, you’ll need to get familiar with your local zoning regulations.
What is Zoning?
Zoning laws are a set of guidelines set up by your local municipality or city hall to help guide urban growth and development. In practice, zoning is often used to preserve the character of a neighborhood and to ensure new development is compatible with existing uses and communities.
Chances are you’re living in a residential zone which is often categorized as land used for single family housing, multi-family residential, or mobile homes. Unfortunately, residential zoning also tends to be the most restrictive in that property value and nuisance laws are highly protected. We typically see our farmers with agricultural, industrial, or commercial zoning permits.
Tips for Shipping Container Farm Zoning
Even though container farming has been around for a few years, it is still a relatively new concept. Some municipalities may be unfamiliar or not have any zoning regulations that include that method of farming. While zoning regulations vary depending on every location, here are a few tips to help you out no matter where you live:
1. Schedule an appointment with your city’s zoning department to discuss your project. It helps to have your farm site mapped out beforehand to illustrate where you want the farm placed. Here's an example.
2. Ask the department about the rules, regulations and covenants that are associated with the zone.
3. While asking these questions, keep in mind that you are specifically trying to identify any written rules that exclude farming with a shipping container or closed farming structures. Keep in mind that our farmers typically have agriculture, industrial, or commercial zoning permits.
4. If you have done thorough research and found no codified obstacles to having a shipping container farm in that zone…then it looks like you’re in the clear.
5. Take the process a step further and inform the zoning department of what you plan on doing. Show them an image of what the shipping container farm will look like. Be prepared – they may ask to see technical specs.
6. Get in touch with the Freight Farm’s sales team for more guidance, pending approval from your local zoning department.
In general, it takes anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months to get a site approved so we recommend going to your zoning board sooner rather than later when starting your project. Here is a list of resources that will help with zoning as well as examples of urban farming policies that accommodate shipping container farms: