City Council Allows Chattanooga Farms On Smaller Acreage

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The City Council voted 6-3 on Tuesday night to allow Chattanooga farms on smaller acreage.

The current ordinance requires 20 acres for a city farm - with only one property meeting that standard.

The new ordinance allows farms with five acres or more.

It is also possible to be a city farmer with less than five acres through a new appeals process to the City Council.

New barns and security fences must be at least 25 feet from the property line of a residence.

Voting in favor were Anthony Byrd, Demetrus Coonrod, Russell Gilbert, Erskine Oglesby, Chip Henderson and Jerry Mitchell.

Opposed were Carol Berz, Darrin Ledford and Ken Smith.

Here is the new ordinance:

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHATTANOOGA CITY CODE,
PART II, CHAPTER 38, ZONING ORDINANCE, ARTICLE V,
ZONING REGULATIONS, DIVISION 28, A-1 URBAN
AGRICULTURAL ZONE TO REDUCE THE REQUIRED
MINIMUM LOT SIZE AND TO ESTABLISH SITE PLAN
REQUIREMENTS.
_____________________________________________________
WHEREAS, Chattanooga City Code Chapter 7 states that it is unlawful for any person to
keep or possess swine permits swine, goats, and fowl within the City on property other than
agricultural land, unless such animals are kept on a tract of land containing five (5) or more
contiguous acres; and
WHEREAS, small and large livestock and fowl are permitted within the corporate limits
on A-1 Urban Agricultural Zoned Land; and
WHEREAS, the minimum lot size in the A-1 Urban Agricultural Zone is twenty (20)
acres. Currently, there is only one tract of land that is zoned A-1 Urban Agricultural Zone within
the City of Chattanooga; and
WHEREAS, the A-1 Urban Agricultural Zone has minimum required pasture areas of
one (1) acre for large livestock, and 1/4 acre for smaller livestock, such as goats, sheep, and emu.
With regard to fowl the minimum pasture area is one (1) acre per twenty (20) fowl; and
WHEREAS, the A-1 Urban Agricultural Zone also includes requirements that no new
barn, building, or structure that serves as shelter for the livestock or fowl shall be located withintwenty-five (25’) feet of any property line but existing barns shall be excluded from these
distance restrictions as of the effective date of the adoption of this ordinance that is zoned or
used for residential purposes; and
WHEREAS, the A-1 Urban Agricultural Zone also requires that any building or container
used for the storage of feed shall be located within one hundred fifty (150’) feet of any property
that is zoned or used for residential purposes; and
WHEREAS, based on the minimum requirement areas for pasture areas based on the
number of animals to be kept on the property and the minimum five (5) acres established in
Chattanooga City Code Chapter 7 the minimum twenty (20) acre lot size could be considered
overly strict; and
WHEREAS, the minimum twenty (20) lot size would prohibit larger lots less than twenty
(20) acres the ability to grow produce, growing of crops, etc.
SECTION 1. BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF
CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE, That Chattanooga City Code, Part II, Chapter 38, Zoning
Ordinance, Section 38-452, be amended as follows:
Amend Article V. Zone Regulations, Division 28. A-1 Urban Agricultural Zone, Section 38-
452 Purpose, by deleting in its entirety and replace with the following:
Sec. 38-452. Purpose.
The purpose of the A-1 Urban Agricultural Zone is to provide the opportunity for
agricultural land and related uses within the City limits. This zone also designed to provide
an opportunity for Planned Unit Development (Division 25. Planned Unit Development:
Residential) that allows for open space design for the protection of sensitive natural
resources such as floodplains, slopes over twenty (20%), riparian areas, wetlands, and prime
agricultural soils.SECTION 2. BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That Chattanooga City Code, Part II,
Chapter 38, Zoning Ordinance, Section 38-453, be amended as follows:
Amend Article V. Zone Regulations, Division 28. A-1 Urban Agricultural Zone, Section 38-
453 Permitted Uses (1)(a) Livestock (i) by deleting in its entirety and replace with the
following:
(i) Each cow, equine, swine or other large livestock shall have a minimum
pasture area of one (1) acre. Each goat, sheep, emu, ostrich or other small
livestock shall have minimum pasture area of one-fourth (1/4) acre. Livestock
pasture areas must be securely fenced at all times so as to securely contain said
livestock within the pasture area. No security fence that secures the pasture area
shall be erected within twenty-five (25’) feet of any property line, excluding the
shared property line(s) where the adjacent property(s) already maintain livestock.
SECTION 3. BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That Chattanooga City Code, Part II,
Chapter 38, Zoning Ordinance, Section 38-453, be amended as follows:
Amend Article V. Zone Regulations, Division 28. A-1 Urban Agricultural Zone, Section 38-
453 Permitted Uses (1)(b) Fowl (ii) by deleting in its entirety and adding (iii) and replace
with the following:
Sec. 38-453. Permitted Uses.

(1)(b)(ii) Such animals must be provided adequate shelter to protect them
from the elements and must be contained in a secure fenced
enclosure at all times so as to securely contain said fowl within the
enclosure area. No security fence that secures the pasture area shall
be erected within twenty-five (25’) feet of any property line,
excluding the shared property line(s) where the adjacent property(s)
already maintain livestock.

(1)(b)(iii) Existing barns that are noted on the Applicant’s site plan approved
by Council are excluded from the set-back requirements within this
zone.

SECTION 4. BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That Chattanooga City Code, Part II,
Chapter 38, Zoning Ordinance, Section 38-454, be amended as follows:Amend Article V. Zone Regulations, Division 28. A-1 Urban Agricultural Zone, Section 38-
454 Area Regulations (1) Minimum Lot Area by deleting in its entirety and replace with
the following:
Sec. 38-454. Area Regulations.
(1) Minimum Lot Area: The minimum area requirement shall be five (5) acres. In no case
shall property be subdivided or reduced to less than five (5) acres of lot area, unless
located within a Planned Unit Development per Section 38-456 or a Special Exceptions
Permit is granted by Chattanooga City Council per Section 38-457 Special Exceptions
Permit for Lots less than five (5) acres.
SECTION 5. BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That Chattanooga City Code, Part II,
Chapter 38, Zoning Ordinance, Section 38-456, be amended as follows:
Amend Article V. Zone Regulations, Division 28. A-1 Urban Agricultural Zone, Section 38-
456 Special Exceptions for Planned Unit Developments (PUD) by deleting in its entirety
Sections (1)(2)(3) and (4) replacing with the following:
(1) Flexibility in the arrangement of residential uses may be permitted by the City Council
as a special exception in any A-1 Urban Agricultural Zone, provided that the minimum
size of any tract of land sought to be used for the PUD shall be at least five (5) acres
and that a desirable environment through the use of good design procedures is assured,
allowing flexibility in individual yard requirements to provide for multiple dwelling
units, townhouses, and two-family units in conjunction with dedicated open space.
(2) The five (5) acre minimum lot may be subdivided under a Planned Unit Development:
Residential (article V, Section 38-391) in which case the five (5) acre minimum lot size may
be subdivided according to PUD regulations if a minimum of fifty (50%) percent of total
land area is set aside for agricultural uses or open space that is maintained in common
ownership, private ownership or other manner, established in an appropriate legal manner.
(3) Lands set aside under an A-1 PUD shall include all wetlands, riparian areas,
including at least ten (10’) feet on either side of high water mark for all USGS blue line
streams, one hundred (100) year floodplain as shown on FEMA Flood Insurance Rate
Maps, and slopes over twenty (20%) percent, and shall reflect a preference for forested
lands, and/or prime agricultural soils as defined by county soil survey.
(4) The maximum number of dwelling units to be developed under a PUD in the A-1 Urban
Agricultural Zone shall be computed by multiplying the gross acreage to be developed,
excluding land set aside as explained in Sections 2 and 3, by 8. For lots using septic
systems for sewage disposal the maximum number of dwelling units shall be determined
by the Hamilton County Groundwater Protection.SECTION 6. BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That Chattanooga City Code, Part II,
Chapter 38, Zoning Ordinance, Article V, Zone Regulations, Division 28, A-1 Urban
Agricultural Zone, Section 38-457, Precedence, by deleting same in its entirety and substituting
in lieu thereof the following:
Sec. 38-457. Revocable Special Exceptions Permit for Lots Less than 5 Acres in the A-1 Urban

Agricultural Zone by Chattanooga City Council


1. The Chattanooga City Council may grant a Revocable Special Exceptions Permit for lots
less than five (5) acres, so that the Chattanooga City Council may evaluate the effect of
the proposed use and its effect on the surrounding area and on the public health and
welfare. The request shall be reviewed and considered on the following criteria:
a) If the site or property formerly in use as an agricultural or farming use prior to
being annexed into the city limits of Chattanooga.
b) If the site contains high quality agricultural soils and is considered prime farmland
of local importance by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
c) If the site contains environmentally sensitive features such as floodplains, steep
slopes, or the high potential for protecting large natural areas through parks,
greenways, working farms and conservation easements.
d) In addition to the above criteria the applicant shall submit a site plan in
compliance with Section 38-459 of these regulations.

2. Special Exceptions Permit may be revoked by Chattanooga City Council at any time
upon notice to the owner and after a public hearing which establishes evidence that the
property is in violation of any requirements listed in Division 28. A-1 Urban Agricultural
Zone, or any municipal code violation.
SECTION 7. BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That Chattanooga City Code, Part II,
Chapter 38, Zoning Ordinance, Article V, Zone Regulations, Division 28, A-1 Urban
Agricultural Zone, by adding the following Section:Sec. 38-458. Precedence.
This ordinance shall take precedence over all ordinances or parts of ordinances or
resolutions in conflict herewith and to the extent that they do not conflict with this ordinance
they are hereby repealed with respect to the conflict and no more.
SECTION 8. BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That Chattanooga City Code, Part II,
Chapter 38, Zoning Ordinance, Article V, Zone Regulations, Division 28, A-1 Urban
Agricultural Zone, by adding the following Section:
Sec. 38-459. Site Plan Requirements.
A site plan must be submitted with any application to rezone to A-1 Urban Agricultural
Zone to demonstrate compliance with the A-1 Urban Agricultural Zone and to address how
agricultural activities will be managed to avoid negative impacts on surrounding land uses and
natural systems.
At a minimum the site plan must include and/or show the following:
• Operating hours;
• A description of the type of equipment necessary or intended for use in each season and
the frequency and duration of anticipated use;
• Disclosure of any intent to spray or otherwise apply agricultural chemicals or pesticides,
frequency and duration of application, and the plants, diseases, pests or other purposes
they are intended for;
• Disclosure of the spreading of manure;
• Disclosure of parking impacts related to the number of staff on-site during work hours,
and the number of potential visitors regularly associated with the site;
• A proposed composting and waste management plan.
• Location of livestock and/or fowl fencing and pasture areas and distance in feet from all
property lines to demonstrate compliance with Sec. 38-453.
• Location of livestock and/or fowl feeding storage and shelter areas and distance in feet
from all property lines to demonstrate compliance with Sec. 38-453.SECTION 9. BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That this Ordinance shall take effect two
(2) weeks from and after its passage.



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