Oakland Planning Commission Discusses Right to Grow Food TONIGHT (9/17) Please attend!

Posted on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 | By Alycia Lang |
TONIGHT (Sept 17th) at 6pm the Oakland Planning Commission will be discussing a major positive change being considered to affect the currently confusing (and somewhat prohibitive) urban agriculture permitting structure. If the proposed changes pass, it will be a huge win for Oakland backyard farmers. It's important to have high attendance in support of the changes, so please considering making it if you're able. To attend at 6pm September 17th, the address is:
Oakland City Hall One Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Hearing Room No. 1 Oakland, CA 94612.
A note from Esperanza Pallana for those of you that can attend the meeting tonight:
Hi for those of you that can make today's Planning Commission meeting, I'll be there with stickers tags to help identify supporters and with talking points! The Planning Commission is mostly in support of these changes. OFPC and Councilmember Kaplan's office are recommending further changes. The overall tone of our organizing is supportive toward the proposal. 
Our points include:
1. Thank you for this historic step in supporting the right to produce food within Oakland 2. Remove conditional use permit requirements from Open Space Zones, specifically Community Parks, Neighborhood Parks, Mini-Parks, and Linear Parks. We fully support the Edible Parks Program proposal and believe the program would benefit individual, civic and environmental health. We recommend eliminating the Planning Department process from Community Gardening in these open spaces and retaining the Parks & Recreation Advisory Commission process. 3. Remove conditional use permit requirements from Transit Oriented Zones for Limited Urban Agriculture. 4. Remove conditional use permit requirements from Central Business District Zones for Limited Urban Agriculture. 5. Conditional Use Permitting requires extensive research and cost for a permit that is in perpetuity with the land. OFPC does not believe we need to designate each project in perpetuity.
If you are unable to join, please feel free to write a letter/email supporting these further recommendations. You can find the Planning Commission contacts at: http://www2.oaklandnet.com/oakca1/groups/ceda/documents/agenda/oak033227.pdf
Read the Oakland Food Policy Council's press release on the importance of this issue here. Our good buddy Kitty Sharkey has taken the time to read the entire proposal and summarizes here what it means to backyard farmers for those of us who are just coming to the table:
According to the Proposed Regulations, growing and selling on site in our backyards no longer requires a home occupation permit but is "by right." This would also apply to multiunit dwellings, high rise apartments etc. Also, keeping up to three hives an selling honey is also "by right."
I'm zoned RD-1 which means my homesteading activities including my livestock are permitted outright as long as I comply with the existing codes for noise, vector, etc and no sales of meat or dairy products.
If this is indeed the case, this is a HUGE victory for those of us in Oakland that choose to raise our own food. I also understand it to mean that This is all kind of AMAZING."
PLEASE plan on attending this critical meeting and showing your support for all the hard work by folks like Esperanza in ensuring our RIGHT to grow and raise our own food.  It's been a long road to get to this point.  I have been involved on and off over the past several years and have witnessed the pendulum swing between neutral and extremes in both directions.  After scanning the large document and reviewing the three classifications linked to below, I am doing a happy dance!
And if you attend, please be sure to comment positively on the proposed update to the Urban Agricultural Regulations and also recommend the lifting of the restrictions on Open Space Zones and Transit Oriented Zones as put forth by the Oakland Food Policy Council (see Esparanza's response earlier to this tread.)
According to Eseranza Pallana, the "Oakland Food Policy Council has submitted a letter with our comments/feedback and further recommendations to the planning dept, commissioners and Councilmembers Kalb, Kaplan and McElhaney." They have also issued a press release.
According to Lisa Feldstein, Former SF Planning Commissioner and long time SF politico:
This brings Oakland into compliance with state law regarding home food production and sale. The livestock and bees are a huge victory. I’m in San Francisco so my coming for public comment would not have much impact, but those of you who do olive in Oakland should:
1. Contact all members of the Planning Commission to register your support
2. Call your city councilperson and register your support; (they will have to pass the final law for it to take effect);
3. Attend the hearing and testify.
We hope to see you all there!