City of Muskegon
City Commission Worksession
December 8, 2014
City Commission Chambers
Present: Commissioners Hood, German, Rinsema-Sybenga, Gawron, Johnson, and Spataro.
Absent: Commissioner Turnquist.
Frank Peterson, City Manager, gave an overview of the topic, provided a hand-out to
Commissioners regarding urban gardening and the Right to Farm Act.
Mr. Peterson stated the City has a strong history of supporting community gardens and has
allowed a number of neighborhood gardens to operate on city property. The topic isn’t as simple
as we would like it to be, as a state law that was designed to protect farmers from residential
encroachment could be used to allow commercial farming operations to operate free of many
local zoning rules. This law did not contemplate commercial farming encroachment into
residential areas, and absent a state legislative fix, protecting residential areas from commercial
farming operations, there is a possibility that allowing a private farmer to operate commercially
could take away the rights of his/her neighbors to avoid what they may perceive as nuisances
associated with commercial farming practices.
Comments were received from the public.
The City Commission directed staff to work with state organizations to create an ordinance that
allows for the commercial sale of items grown in private and community gardens, provided
appropriate regulations are developed to protect all other homeowners and residents from the
potential encroachment of commercial farming activities into densely populated urban
neighborhoods and to present a draft to City Commission in the first quarter of 2015.
Motion by Commissioner Hood, seconded by Vice Mayor Spataro to adjourn at 6:54 p.m.
Ann Marie Cummings, MMC