Chapter 16.21


16.21.005    Purpose

16.21.010    Intent

16.21.014    Urban agriculture activities

16.21.018    Agriculture district

16.21.020    Permitted uses

16.21.030    Prohibited uses

16.21.040    Environmental performance standards

16.21.050    Lot area

16.21.005 Purpose.

The City of Lacey finds there is a need to accommodate farming activity commonly referred to as urban agriculture. This can include a range of activities, such as production of food on a single family residential lot for a family’s personal use, urban vegetable gardens on common property for community use, or a small commercial farm activity located in areas zoned for this use.

While agricultural activity has often been considered inconsistent with smart growth principles of accommodating density in urban areas, the two do not need to be mutually exclusive. Urban agricultural activity for personal use on individual single family lots, or on common property for community agricultural use, or in the form of small commercial urban farms, can add to the urban fabric and create a richer context for urban neighborhoods. These beneficial uses can be accommodated without sacrificing the objectives of the state Growth Management Act (GMA) and designated urban areas.

Urban agricultural activities managed in a responsible way, with sensitivity to urban density and land use compatibility issues, can benefit the individuals participating in the activity and the community at large by providing fresh produce, additional food choices, economic development opportunity, a more sustainable lifestyle and urban neighborhoods with more variety and interest. This section has been developed with the purpose of providing Lacey citizens an opportunity to participate and benefit from these activities. (Ord. 1368 §9, 2011).

16.21.010 Intent.

It is the intent of this chapter to:

A.    Develop opportunities for a range of urban agricultural activities, at a level and intensity that is compatible with Lacey’s neighborhoods.

B.    Define levels of urban agriculture beneficial to neighborhoods and specific zoning designations, considering the context of Lacey’s urbanized areas.

C.    Establish design standards to ensure urban agricultural activities do not compromise the livability of neighborhoods by introducing nuisances that could degrade the quality of life for surrounding residents. Nuisances include, but are not limited to, such things as:

•    Noise.

•    Odors from poor care and clean up of animal waste.

•    Pest problems from improper feeding techniques.

•    Aesthetic impacts.

•    Other issues that are disruptive to the neighborhood or distract from the quality and enjoyment of the neighborhood environment.

D.    Encourage and support personal urban agricultural opportunities for individuals and families.

E.    Encourage and support urban agricultural opportunities for community groups, religious organizations, home owner associations and food co-ops.

F.    Encourage the preservation of good agricultural uses for their value as economic assets as well as their value as open space, contribution to sustainability and healthy lifestyle and food choices for the community;

G.    Provide a designation exclusively for agricultural activities that pre-existed Lacey’s first GMA Plan and those agricultural uses that are of a size and intensity they need space and standards to coexist in an urbanized area to avoid compatibility issues.

H.    Retain the Agricultural District designation to serve as a place holder with a viable use pending the need for transition to other urban uses. This is intended to facilitate the orderly transition of properties that are being used for agricultural production to more intensive residential use, if and when such agricultural uses are no longer feasible for economic, cultural or technical reasons. (Ord. 1368 §10, 2011; Ord. 1368 §1, 2011 Repealed; Ord. 1243 §4, 2005; Ord. 583 §2.09(C) (part) 1980).

16.21.014 Urban agriculture activities.

A.    Urban agriculture activities are described and permitted according to expected compatibility with other urban uses. It is expected that urban agricultural uses will be located on a single-family residential lot with space to adequately accommodate the use. However, a multifamily lot may accommodate an urban agricultural activity if all of the following requirements are satisfied:

•    The use is approved in writing by the owner of the building(s);

•    Land area is assigned in writing by the owner of the building(s) to accommodate the planned agricultural activity;

•    Area assigned to accommodate the urban agricultural activity meets applicable thresholds of this title to adequately accommodate the use;

•    The intent of this section to provide an urban agricultural opportunity while adequately mitigating impacts to neighbors can be fully satisfied;

•    The director of community and economic development determines the use is appropriate to the context of the multifamily complex given assigned area and design.

1.    Urban agricultural uses permitted on residential lots less than one acre in size. The following urban agricultural activity is permitted as an accessory use to a residence:

a.    All horticultural activity for personal use and incidental sales or distribution on site and off site at a farmers market or approved retail area; provided commercial sales may be accommodated subject to the FDA food code, Chapter 246-215 WAC, and requirements of a home occupation pursuant to Chapter 16.69 LMC.

b.    Limited animal husbandry of small farm animals for personal use; provided commercial sales may be accommodated subject to the FDA food code, Chapter 246-215 WAC, and requirements of a home occupation pursuant to Chapter 16.69 LMC. This activity shall be limited to the following:

(1)    Domestic fowl and rabbits:

(a)    The maximum number of all fowl permitted accessory to a single-family residential home on an urban lot shall be one per one thousand square feet of lot area, up to a maximum of ten.

(b)    Roosters, geese, turkeys, peacocks and exotic species are prohibited.

(c)    Rabbits kept in accordance with recommendations of the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) and a minimum three and one-half square feet of hutch space per rabbit up to a maximum of two dozen rabbits.

(d)    Structures housing domestic fowl or rabbits must be located and designed as follows:

•    Located ten feet away from property lines provided no such structure shall be located closer to the front property line than a dwelling.

•    Designed to prevent rodents by incorporation of one of the following:

half shaded right arrow    Raising the floor area eight to twelve inches above grade.

half shaded right arrow    Portable pens moved every few days with cleanup of ground.

half shaded right arrow    Other techniques that have similar results.

(2)    Miniature goats commonly known as pygmy, dwarf and miniature goats provided:

(a)    Male miniature goats are neutered.

(b)    Lots accommodating miniature goats must be a minimum of seven thousand five hundred square feet and may be allowed at a ratio of four miniature goats per one acre of property.

(3)    Beekeeping provided:

(a)    Beekeeping may include honey bees, mason bees, cutter bees, cavity nesting bees or similar bees used for honey or pollination purposes.

(b)    Honey bees must be registered with the State Department of Agriculture according to provisions of RCW 15.60.021 and meet the following restrictions:

•    A maximum of four honey bee hives is permitted as an accessory use to a single-family home;

•    Honey bee hive shall not be located within twenty-five feet of any lot line, provided this distance may be reduced to ten feet if strategies are employed to require bees to gain elevation before crossing the property line. This may include elevation changes, solid fencing or other techniques that can achieve this objective.

(c)    Area housing bee varieties other than honey bees must be a minimum of ten feet from adjacent properties and limited in size appropriate for pollination of the owner’s lot.

(4)    Other poultry and small animals not specified may be permitted or prohibited by the director of community and economic development upon finding that the species can or cannot reasonably be accommodated without impacts to adjacent properties. Limitations shall be applied as considered appropriate to mitigate potential impacts. Approval under this provision shall be at the sole discretion of the director of community and economic development based upon written findings articulating the intent of this chapter.

(5)    Cows, horses, sheep and other similar large farm animals are not permitted as an accessory use on lots less than one acre in size.

2.    Urban agricultural uses permitted on residential lots greater than one acre in size. The following urban agricultural activity is permitted as an accessory use to a residence:

a.    All uses permitted under subsection (A)(1) of this section according to ratios, conditions and restrictions therein.

b.    On lots or parcels of one acre or more, livestock may be kept; provided, that the number of head of livestock shall not exceed one for each half acre of lot area; and further that barns or other structures for the housing or sheltering thereof be set back not less than thirty-five feet from all property lines. In addition, urban agricultural uses shall employ best management practices, such as may be included in a farm plan developed by the Thurston Conservation District.

c.    All uses permitted under subsection (A)(4) of this section (community urban agricultural use) according to the ratios, conditions and restrictions therein.

3.    Urban agricultural activity on a nonresidential lot. As an accessory use or transitional use, the following urban agricultural activities may be permitted:

a.    All uses permitted under subsection (A)(1) of this section according to ratios, conditions and restrictions therein.

b.    All uses permitted under subsection (A)(4) of this section (community urban agricultural use) according to the ratios, conditions and restrictions therein.

4.    Community/communal urban agricultural activities. Permitted according to the following descriptions and restrictions:

a.    Horticulture may include all horticultural activity organized in the form of communal farming arrangements on property used in common for these purposes or where small lots or back yards have raised beds or segregated plots for lease for gardening activity. This may include activities such as community pea patches, community garden plots, shared garden plots, publicly owned garden plots for community use, gardens owned and operated by nonprofit organizations, homeowners associations and religious organizations for use by members or community groups, yard area with segregated raised garden beds developed by an owner for lease and other similar activities. Said activity shall be subject to the following requirements:

(1)    All horticultural activities taking place on a lot or portions of a lot that is less than two acres shall be reviewed by the community and economic development department as follows:

(a)    Subject to limited administrative review under Chapter 1 of the Development Guidelines and Public Works Standards to document the proposal, discuss the level of activity and development of a project management plan necessary to ensure compatibility with adjacent neighbors.

(b)    If considered necessary to ensure compatibility with adjacent land use, a formal site plan review (SPR) may be required, including preparation and approval of an urban agriculture impact mitigation plan. Such determination shall be at the sole discretion of the community and economic development director.

(2)    All urban farming activities taking place on a lot or portions of a lot more than two acres in size shall require a site plan review approval.

(3)    Produce in excess of member needs may be provided on or off site to individual community members in need, food banks, religious organizations and other nonprofits for distribution to the public.

(4)    Incidental sales of produce in excess of member needs may occur on site, at local farmers markets or at approved commercial sites. On-site retail sales must not result in adverse impacts to the neighborhood area as a result of signage, traffic or other related activity. Determinations regarding impact of on-site retail activity and mitigation requirements will be up to the sole discretion and determination of the community and economic development director and may be subject to the provisions of Chapter 16.70 LMC (street merchant ordinance).

(a)    Animal husbandry is limited to those activities permitted with requirements as specified in subsection (A)(1)(b) of this section with the following additional considerations and requirements:

-    Such activity must take place as a secondary and incidental use in conjunction with community urban farming horticultural activities.

-    “Personal use” in the context of community urban agricultural use shall include all members of the group participating in the urban agricultural activity.

(5)    Commercial urban farms: Commercial urban agricultural use in Lacey and its growth area is generally farming activity that existed at the time Lacey’s first GMA Plan was adopted. Most areas with small commercial farm activity were zoned Agricultural District to provide for continuation of these activities in a zone designed to accommodate this use. Future provision may be made for small farms in other zoning designations under criteria necessary to ensure compatibility. This concept is reserved for future consideration.

B.    Permitted where: All zoning designations will reference the urban agriculture activities and appropriate provisions of this chapter applicable to the zone. (Ord. 1539 §66, 2019: Ord. 1427 §7, 2013: Ord. 1368, §11, 2011).

16.21.018 Agriculture District.

The Agricultural District has been established for the purposes and intent described in LMC 16.21.005 and 16.21.010. (Ord. 1427 §8, 2013: Ord. 1368, §12, 2011).

16.21.020 Permitted uses.

A.    Specific Types Permitted in the Agricultural District.

1.    Production of crops and livestock including but not limited to the following:

a.    All horticultural crops including tree farms, greenhouses and nurseries;

b.    Livestock production including grazing, dairying, poultry and egg production, and riding stables;

c.    Limited processing and packaging of produce and animal products, including slaughtering, limited to crops and animals produced on the premises;

2.    Single-family structures, not exceeding one per five acres.

B.    Other or Related Uses.

1.    Accessory buildings or structures clearly related to the basic use of the premises such as storage of personal property, vehicles, equipment and supplies;

2.    Stands or sheds for the sale of agricultural products produced on the premises;

3.    Manufactured homes for persons related to or employed in the agricultural pursuits of the premises;

4.    Accessory residential dwelling as defined in LMC 16.06.055;

5.    Home occupations as provided in Chapter 16.69 LMC. (Ord. 1539 §67, 2019: Ord. 1427 §9, 2013: Ord. 1395 §2, 2012: Ord. 1024 §36, 1995; Ord. 931 §10, 1992; Ord. 927 §9, 1992; Ord. 583 §2.15(B)(1, 2), 1980).

16.21.030 Prohibited uses.

Prohibited uses in the agricultural district are as follows:

A.    Feed lots;

B.    Animal product reduction facilities;

C.    Slaughterhouses or processing plants or facilities larger than those required for the crops or animals grown on the site. (Ord. 583 §2.15(B)(3), 1980).

16.21.040 Environmental performance standards.

All uses in this district shall comply with the environmental performance standards of Chapter 16.57 LMC. (Ord. 1427 §10, 2013: Ord. 583 §2.15(C)(1), 1980).

16.21.050 Lot area.

A.    Minimum lot area, five acres;

B.    Setbacks for residential structures and all accessory buildings:

Minimum front yard, twenty-five feet,

Minimum side yards, eight feet,

Minimum rear yards, twenty-five feet;

C.    Setbacks for structures or enclosures housing animals or poultry:

Minimum setback from front street line, one hundred feet,

Minimum setback from side and rear property lines or from a flanking street line, fifty feet;

D.    Maximum building area and development coverage for a single use or occupancy is:

Maximum building coverage for five acres or more, fifteen percent,

Maximum development coverage for five acres or more, twenty-five percent;

E.    Maximum height:

Residential building, thirty-five feet,

Accessory building, sixteen feet,

Barns, silos and the like, fifty feet. (Ord. 1024 §36, 1995; Ord. 583 §2.15(C)(2), 1980).