It was all across the local news and blogs last month: Oakland’s Planning Department is a bunch of backwards meanies who can’t see past their parcel maps and wake up to the fact their rules on urban agriculture are out of date. San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors hurried right up and changed the rules here, just to prove we were cooler and faster on our feet. Now the Chron reports that Oakland’s bureaucracy is slowly cranking into motion, after putting poor Novella Carpenter through hell and making her pay a $2,500 permit fee to sell her chard and her rabbit potpies, which she couldn’t afford. (She has since enlisted donations from her blog readers, and managed to raise the funds.)
Planning director Eric Angstadt acknowledges that the City’s archaic policies were used to the advantage of a political faction who balked at the fact that Carpenter was killing and eating rabbits — who were the ones to tip off Planning in the first place about Carpenter’s un-permitted farming operation. “We, the city, are being used as a blunt tool, a hammer, in another debate — whether or not rabbits are food,” he now says. And he and the his government colleagues also admit that the zoning code, last revised in 1965, did not take into account the concept of urban agriculture as we know it today, and which were trying to draw sharper lines between city and country.
Oakland urban farming prompts plan to redo rules [Chron]
Earlier: The Culprit in Novella Carpenter’s Urban Farm Kerfuffle Was a Rabbit Pot-Pie [Grub Street]
Oakland Still Doesn’t Take Kindly to Urban Farmers [Grub Street]