City: Bill could control growth of urban farms

By Perry Russom

June 19, 2013 Updated Jun 20, 2013 at 12:12 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Urban farming has been growing in popularity in Binghamton.

Residents there have set up chicken coups, community gardens and compost piles to save money on produce and cut down on processed food.

Dozens gathered at City Hall Wednesday night to debate legislation that would set guidelines for urban farming.

The legislation is called the Community Food System Zoning Proposal.

Council remains split on how the legislation should move forward.

"It's like opening the barn door," said Councilman Bill Berg on what he's heard from constituents."That's only the beginning. What's next?"

Councilwoman Lea Webb, however, disagrees.

"Obviously, large livestock will not be a good fit in an urban area, so I don't think that concern quite frankly is warranted," said Webb.

Existing regulations allow any property owner to keep up to four chickens or rabbits, and community gardens are permitted in all districts except those areas zoned for industrial use.

The new legislation proposes changes to farmers' markets, composting practices, community gardens, market gardens and raising poultry, rabbits and bees.

Highlights of the summary include allowing farmers' markets to operate in residential areas, stiffer regulations on odor and vermin for composting, and allowance of four chickens, ducks, or rabbits per lot.

Talks on the legislation will continue within the council in early July.