Where can I read the full text of the urban agriculture zoning ordinance?  You can read the ordinance
in full HERE.

Will the ordinance prevent me from growing vegetables in my yard? Nope!

How will existing community gardens and urban gardens be affected? Most existing community gardens and urban gardens will comply with the zoning amendment.  But, if they don’t, they will need to come into compliance.  They’ll have plenty of time do that!

Which types of zoning districts does this urban agriculture zoning ordinance impact? The ordinance permits Urban Gardens and Market Gardens in the following zoning districts: Residential, Office, Commercial, Industrial, Special Public Interest, and Planned Development – Mixed Use.

Will chickens or bees be permitted under the ordinance?   The urban agriculture ordinance does not change any policies regarding the keeping of bees, poultry or other livestock.  Atlanta’s zoning code is silent with respect to beekeeping.  Poultry is addressed in Atlanta’s zoning code: Atlanta, Ga., Code Part II §§ 18-7 and 18-129; Atlanta, Ga., Code Part III § 16-06C.002.

What’s the Difference Between an Urban Garden and a Market Garden? There’s one big difference as outlined in the ordinance: produce grown in an Urban Garden cannot be sold on-site (but it could be grown for personal use and donation or sold off-site, like at a store or a farmers market). Sales are allowed in a Market Garden, but only for produce grown on-site.

Are sales hours restricted under the ordinance? For Urban Gardens, produce cannot be sold on-site. For Market Gardens, sales are allowed from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.  CSA pickups are allowed at any time during the sales hours.

Why is a Special Administrative Permit (SAP) required for an Urban Garden in residential zoning district?

In residential zoning districts, the City of Atlanta will require a SAP for an Urban Garden that is the principal use on a lot (including vacant and abandoned lots).  This ensures that the Urban Garden maintains the neighborhood’s fabric and character.

A permit is needed only if the garden is the only use on the property.  So, if there is a house or structure, you do not need a permit.  Read the UA SAP Fee Fact Sheet.

What are the requirements for a SAP for Urban Gardens as a principal use in a residential zoning district?  When an SAP is required for an Urban Garden (see above), the applicant will have to submit the following documents:

  • Site Plan
  • Management Plan/Impact Analysis

The SAP will expire 12 months from the date of issuance and requires annual renewal.  We are working with the city to ensure that no renewal fee is required.

What are the restrictions on Market Gardens in residential districts? A Market Garden is allowed as an accessory use on lots with schools, churches, or places of worship without a permit.  Market Gardens are not allowed as the principal use.

Is a permit required for an Urban Garden or Market Garden in non-residential districts? No, Urban Gardens and Market Gardens are allowed as a principal or accessory use without a permit.

Will the ordinance address use of pesticides? Disclosure of pesticide use is required as part of the Management Plan submitted for an SAP for Urban Gardens in residential zoning districts.  

Can machinery be used in Urban Gardens or Market Gardens?  Yes, machinery is allowed under the ordinance.  When not in use, the machinery must be stored so as not to be visible from any public street, sidewalk, or right-of-way. The urban agriculture ordinance will not change any policies regarding acceptable noise levels caused by machinery operation. The Atlanta Noise Ordinance can be found in Atlanta’s zoning code: Atlanta, Ga., Code Part II § 74-129, et seq.

Does the ordinance include parking requirements? For Urban Gardens, there are no additional parking requirements. For Market Gardens, in zoning districts with no minimum parking requirement, no parking is required. In all other districts, a minimum of 3 spaces must be provided: 2 spaces for customers; and 1 space for garden personnel.

Who’s been working on this? The Atlanta Local Food Initiative (ALFI) and Georgia Organics have worked with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the Office of Planning, the Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory Law School, and local growers for over four years to draft this amendment.


Download ALFI’s Content Directory here for subject specialists to answer your questions.


A printable version of this information is available: Go Grow Atlanta Urban Agriculture Fact Sheet.

A printable version of the UA Fee Paper Fact sheet is available: Go Grow Atlanta Fee Paper Fact Sheet.