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Posts: 3
Location: USA
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Don`t let this happen to you. Plan ahead.

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Posts: 21
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Wow!  What next?  Hey YOU!  You're breathing too much air!
 
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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This is bad, but I would like to point out that these are the same laws that stop people from putting papermills next to preschools and pesticide plants in down town districts.
 
                  
Posts: 114
Location: South Carolina Zone 8
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I think I know exactly where he went wrong and brought the county down on him without looking at the zoning for the area. Now this is just a guess. He was selling vegetables at the local farmer's market. This means he was operating a farm not a garden. The area in which he lived was most likely zoned residential only which (at least here) has no laws limiting gardening size, space, or productivity however prevents a person from growing crops and selling them. Also if you notice the case also included having 2 undocumented workers meaning they were treating him as a farmer with hired help. The news of course ran with the angle the county is taking him to court for growing too many veggies because it sensationalized it however in my opinion (while ethically I feel the man did nothing wrong) this could have been reported under the title man scoffs at zoning laws operating illegal farm.

Folks this is why it is extremely important when purchasing land to look at the zoning for the land and surrounding area. Also in the event of you buying property that has been subdivided into a community or previously owned by a developer (even one that went bankrupt) there may be covenants in place for the "community" and some as silly as having to ask the developers permission to build a shed. If these are in place even though you are buying 20 acres you may not for example be allowed to have any livestock including chickens even if the county zoning allows them. I know someone who bought an entire bankrupt development before anything was built however dirt and rock roads were installed. The developer had covenants set up for the development and the guy had to file an abolishment of those covenants to legally do the things he wanted to do with his land that was no longer even a dream of a community. Overall zoning laws and covenants are to protect us from our neighbors but they can be a pain to work with so it is best (at least for folks like us) to purchase land with minimal restrictions.
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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I appreciate you looking at the whole story!
 
steward
Posts: 7926
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Most cities/towns have their zoning laws written by the City Council.  If you look at the makeup of city councils, I'd bet you will find more developers than you would farmers.  I looked at a nice piece of property "in the county" a few miles from the city.  On 3 sides of the property were newly developed homes.  Between me and the city was another development under way.  Even though the property I was looking at was zoned AG, it was being surrounded by new development.  It will just be a matter of time before "they" want to be incorporated.  There is no guarantee that I could have been grandfathered in with my 'No Restrictions" AG zoning.  For that reason alone, I eliminated the property from my list.
 
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My hometown (Jacksonville, FL) has pretty reasonable laws regarding home based businesses. If a person does not change the residential character of the neighborhood, it is permitted. This means no retail presence with people coming and going and all the traffic and parking issues, no noticeable increase in noise, dust or gas emissions, no employees except those that live in the home, no major changes to the appearance of the property, etc.  If someone wants to blog for a living from home, or grow vegetables, or do any other home based business, it should only be a problem for the city council if that person creates problems for the neighbors.
 
                  
Posts: 114
Location: South Carolina Zone 8
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Jonathan dig deeper by definition farming is growing crops or raising/keeping livestock for the purpose of selling them. Farming=Agriculture and as such it falls into an activity not allowed in areas zoned residential even if home based business are allowed (unless the zoning laws specifically state you can sell surplus from your garden or something similar). There is a big legal difference between personal use and selling of crops and livestock. Now if for instance you purchased boxes of fruits and veggies for resale (let's leave livestock out) it would fall under home based business where growing them for sale does not. Also while we are defining things keep in mind gardening is not farming because there is nothing wrong with planting things for personal use even in containers on your apartment balcony you just cannot sell the produce without legally falling under being a farm even if it is from one potted tomato plant. Now of course there are rules as far as business licensing and taxes usually based on $ amount of income due to farming but selling crops you grew makes you a farmer under the law.

BTW folks something as simple as letting trees grow till they are a marketable size and then selling them can make you a legal farmer. Most folks do not know it but trees can be considered a crop if grown with the intent on selling them. If you intend to eventually sell trees off your wooded lot you are about to purchase you need to look at zoning laws just as closely as the guy wanting to grow crops or raise chickens for market.
 
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