Natomas Basin Farm Benefits From New Ag Ordinance

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Feeding Crane Farms in the Natomas Basin is one of the first businesses to benefit from Sacramento County’s recently adopted zoning codes meant to help boost area agribusiness.

Feeding Crane Farms is in the process of converting nearly 100 fallow acres near Elkhorn Boulevard into organic farmland.

Farm owner Brian Shaad launched the project in November with a plan to supply organic vegetables to local restaurants and for public on-site farm-to-table food events.

Feeding Crane Farms is the largest certified organic farm in Sacramento and sells produce at the weekly Natomas farmers’ market (8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturdays on North Freeway Blvd.).

“From the first phone call the county’s planning staff have been incredibly helpful in guiding us through the streamlined permitting process,” Shaad said. “We applaud the county’s focus and support in reviving Sacramento County’s food and agricultural economy.”

The county’s new codes, approved in December 2011, eliminate the need for Conditional Use Permits and can save businesses thousands of dollars and time in permitting.

“We want to assist local growers and businesses wherever and whenever possible,” said Don Nottoli, chairman of the Sacramento County board of supervisors. “Feeding Crane Farms operation is an excellent example of a successful local business which is generating revenue, adding jobs and enhancing the Grow Local-Buy Local movement.”

Shaad has hired eight employees since he started farming the fallow north-area land.


About the Draft Zoning Code Amendment:
-Allows some agri-tourism uses by right in certain zones and allows others through the use permit process.
-Creates specific parking and signage development standards for wineries, farm stand and farm stay operations.
-Outlines additional permitting requirements from other county departments.
-Provides four classifications for premises selling produce that would be permitted by right in agricultural zones if the sales areas do not exceed 1,500 square feet.
-Allows small wineries by right in agricultural zones provided they have tasting rooms under 1,500 square feet.
-Allows small wineries to host special events without a conditional use permit, with the size of events dependent on the size of property.
-Allows farm stays, similar to bed and breakfast inns with a focus on farming activities, with five or few rooms in agricultural zones by right.

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