Pittsburgh Streamlines Rules for Backyard Farms

  • The end of the work day at the Homewood Cemetery Community Garden in Pittsburgh, September 26, 2014. Photo: Cam Miller

July 10, 2015

This week, the Pittsburgh City Council passed a new agriculture zoning law that makes it easier and cheaper to keep beehives and raise chickens and goats. It updates a process that many advocates say was expensive and time consuming.

“You had to go in front of a public hearing; you had to pay about $300,” says Dawn Plummer, Director of the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council. “So what we saw is that after the code was passed, there were very few people who actually applied, and even fewer who actually crossed all the hurdles.”

Under the new ordinance, urban ag permits will cost $70 and can be issued in a single day. Homeowners and renters must meet minimum lot-size requirements for animals and are required to bring a detailed site plan for their chicken coop, apiary or other animal structure. The new law also offers permits for residents to create their own farm stands to sell vegetables grown in their gardens