Residential Zoning and Urban Agriculture
City regulations allow homeowners to engage in a range of urban agricultural activities, including growing and selling produce and keeping animals such as bees and chickens.
Urban Gardens, Farmers’ Markets and Produce Stands
City Council adopted Ordinance 1491 in May 2011 which supports urban agriculture in Wheat Ridge. This ordinance updated the city’s regulations so that community gardens (under the category of "urban gardens"), farmers’ markets, and produce stands are now allowed in any zone district. A summary of the three uses permitted in each zone district may be found below.
- Urban Gardens - an urban garden is defined as an area of land formally managed, organized, and maintained by an individual or group of individuals to grow and harvest food crops and/or non-food ornamental crops, such as flowers. Common examples of urban gardens include: community gardens (where plots of land are leased), market gardens (where crops are sold for profit), and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) (where crops are sold or donated for shareholder consumption). Urban gardens are allowed in all zone districts, including residential. Urban Gardens Guide
- Farmers’ Markets - farmers’ markets are allowed in any zone district, except in residential zone districts on properties where the primary use is a single- or two-unit home. Farmers’ markets require a business license, which you may apply for through the city’s Sales Tax Division. Farmers' Markets Guide
- Produce Stands - a produce stand is a temporary structure where agricultural products such as raw vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, plants, nuts, honey, and eggs are sold. Value-added agricultural products which are made from raw agricultural products such as jams and jellies may also be sold from produce stands. Products sold must have been primarily grown, raised, or produced on the same property where the stand is located. Produce stands require a business license, which you may apply for through the city’s Sales Tax Division. Produce stands on residential properties must also follow the rules for home occupations. Produce Stands Guide
Building Code Revision Regarding Hoop Houses
Ordinance 1494 adopted by City Council in June 2011 made updates to the building code that eased requirements for hoop houses. Hoop houses are temporary greenhouses with a semi-circle shape that typically have a plastic covering. Many people use hoop houses as an affordable way to extend the growing season. These structures range from very small greenhouses set up in private backyards, to very large structures used on commercial farms or in retail settings.
The city’s changes to the building code made the regulations for hoop houses more flexible. Now, any hoop house that is 400 square feet or less in size is exempt from building permit. Hoop houses that are 400 to 1,000 square feet in size require a building permit, but they have less strict requirements for wind and snow load. This is because hoop houses typically have a form of plastic or fabric covering that makes it difficult to meet the wind and snow load requirements set for permanent structures. For more information, contact the Building Division.