Bees, chickens and goats - The fight for urban farming - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Bees, chickens and goats - The fight for urban farming

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ENCINITAS (CBS 8) - A fight over urban farming is brewing in Encinitas. Some residents are pushing for new rules to allow chickens, goats and beehives, but not everyone is wild on the idea.

For the past year, the City Council has been working on an urban agriculture ordinance.

On Thursday night, the Encinitas Planning Commission heard concerns and support from residents and former nursery owners.

Laurel Mehl owns Coral Tree Farm where she grows fruits, avocados, fresh chicken eggs and raises goats. The farm is on two acres on Park Lane, just east of Interstate-5, in the middle of Encinitas.

According to Mehl, it's a welcoming environment to educate and teach about farming in an urban setting. "It's an experience that most city children are removed from," said Mehl.

Her neighbors, however, have filed complaints.

"Too many animals, filth, rats, overwhelming odors draining into other yards," said a neighbor.

Brian Crouch said, "It's a business. It impacts our livelihood and will impact values of our homes."

Under the ordinance, farmers could have twenty-five chickens in a coop at least 50 feet from a neighbors, two miniature goats with no distance restrictions, and two bee hives within 15 feet of the property line.

"I think it's wonderful, this whole movement to bring home produce and growing it in your own backyard," said Evelyn Weidner, from Weidner's Garden.

Ruben Dario Flores from the Encinitas Planning Commissioner said, "we will support the concept of urban farming."

Under the proposal, community gardens less than an acre would not need a permit. Anything larger would require a permit and a fee of about $250.

Thursday's meeting lasted over two hours and the Planning Commission wants staff to flesh out more questions so they delayed making a decision until September.

If approved, it would go to the Council for a vote.

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