County Supervisors approve Chula Vista community gardening plan

County Supervisors approve Chula Vista community gardening plan
Posted at 1:33 PM, May 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-15 16:34:16-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- Owners of vacant or blighted property in Chula Vista will now be able to get a tax break in exchange for growing fruits and vegetables.

The plan was approved Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors. The city is covered by an Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone which allows owners of more than 170 qualifying properties to submit plans to turn the land into community gardens or other agricultural uses.

The program, created by a 2014 law, would lower property taxes based on per-acre value of the irrigated farmland.

City officials say the aim of the plan is to increase green spaces, build community and educate the public about fresh food production.

"It's a great way to utilize parcels that maybe haven't been developed to their full potential," Supervisor Greg Cox said. "I think that's something we ought to see, frankly, in the other 16 cities in San Diego County and the unincorporated area."

San Diego became the county’s first city to adopt the program in 2018 with 2,000 properties eligible for the program.

Property owners must now apply with the city. The city says properties must be at least 0.1 acres, but no more than three acres and the entire property must be dedicated to agricultural use.

If approved, the property owner and city would enter into a five-year agreement.