Dunbar may soon follow the lead of cities like Charleston by adopting its own Urban Agriculture Ordinance. Council members gave initial approval to an ordinance allowing residents to raise chickens, keep honeybees and build farms on rooftops.
A group of Dunbar residents wanting to implement community gardens and urban farms in the city asked for the ordinance, Mayor Terry Greenlee said.
Urban agriculture contributes to the local economy in several ways. It generates living wage jobs, promotes sales of foods at farmers markets and other venues, and provides an opportunity for entrepreneurship by creating "food-related small businesses."
Urban agriculture also allows families the opportunity to supplement their food budgets.
If the ordinance is passed after the second reading, the Board of Zoning Appeals must first determine if the urban farm use is compatible with the area and may also limit hours of operation.
Lands dedicated to urban agriculture must adhere to city inspection codes and roof farms would require a building permit.
Residents wishing to keep honeybees are limited to a maximum of two colonies on lots smaller than one acre. Colonies would be permitted on residential properties only.
A public hearing will be held at 6:45 p.m. prior to the next city council meeting.
City council also passed the first reading of an amendment to an ordinance that will further limit the operation of all-terrain vehicles on city streets.
Previously, the city's ordinance regarding the use of ATVs within the city only restricted their operation on roads with a centerline.
Greenlee said that because of the way the ordinance was written "it was legal game for fourwheelers to run all over the city" except for the main road which was a major safety issue.