SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, parts of San Diego County are considered food deserts which means there aren’t any healthy food choices readily available. This incentive would hopefully change that.
The city council came together this morning to vote on the matter.
The council agreed on covering the city with an Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone that would allow owners of over 2,000 qualifying parcels to submit plans to turn their properties into community gardens or other agricultural uses in exchange for paying a lower property tax rate based on the area per-acre value of irrigated farmland.
The program was created by a 2014 state law.
City officials say the aim is to increase green spaces, build community, educate the public about fresh food production and increase access to fruits and vegetables in areas that lack fresh food.
Under the plan, property owners would be required to apply for the plan and the entire property must be dedicated to the agricultural use -- no houses or apartments would be allowed.
If approved, the property owner and the city would enter into a contract of at least five years. If all qualifying property owners participated, the city would lose out on $1.35 million annually in property tax revenue.