Supervisors seek to ease local vendor participation in community

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The County of San Diego’s latest plans to promote local agriculture include preliminary steps to reduce the regulatory burden for those who provide goods or services at community events on commercial agricultural properties.

The County of San Diego’s latest plans to promote local agriculture include preliminary steps to reduce the regulatory burden for those who provide goods or services at community events on commercial agricultural properties.

A 3-0 San Diego County Board of Supervisors vote May 16, with Greg Cox and Kristin Gaspar absent, directed the county’s chief administrative officer to explore options for easing the ability of local small-scale businesses to provide food and goods at community-events on agriculture-producing properties, to add to the county’s legislative program support for state legislative efforts to reduce or ease regulations, and to return to the Board of Supervisors within 120 days.

“It certainly fits in well with our efforts to support agriculture,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “The permit required is very cumbersome and very costly.”

Under current state law and county code, agricultural producers may host a vendor to sell locally produced food through a temporary food facility permit which is administered by the county’s Department of Environmental Health under the California Retail Food Code.

The options the chief administrative officer are exploring will include a permit fee waiver program, a pilot program, and revisions to the county’s Agriculture Promotion Program including zoning ordinance revisions.

The county’s Agriculture Promotion Program was approved by the Board of Supervisors in March 2017. The program allows commercial accessory uses on properties where agriculture is the primary use.

The Zoning Ordinance revisions could include a tiered system which would require permits for larger producers.  

They would not be the first.

The county supervisors adopted a tiered winery ordinance which bases the approval process on the production volume in 2010 and approved modifications in 2016.  

A tiered equine ordinance basing the approval process on the number of horses and the available acreage was approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2013.  

The county supervisors revised the county’s beekeeping ordinance and approved a tiered ordinance which bases setback distances on the number of hives in 2015.

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