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LA County Gets Rolling on Turning Ugly Vacant Lots Into Useful Urban Farms

LA has been pushing for tax breaks for owners of vacant urban lots who lease out the neglected land to people who want to farm on it, and now the LA County Board of Supervisors (which would have to approve the tax breaks before they could be implemented) is doing their part to make it happen. County Supes voted today to start hammering out the details of the eventual program that would allow for property owners to get at least a five-year property tax break on lots under three acres that are leased to people who want to grow food on them, says the City News Service.

The tax break would only apply for privately-owned lots in certain, to-be-determined areas of the county, and cities that fall within the boundaries would be able to choose whether they want to be part of the program or not, but some members of the LA City Council have already expressed their support for having LA opt in.

Last year, the state passed the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act, which allows for the tax break for private landowners who rent their land out for farming; County Supe Mark Ridley-Thomas proposed the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone program locally, telling CNS that this will make it easier money-wise for people in urban areas to grow their own food. And there's lots of space to do it. In June, an LA County assessor's report found that around 57,000 lots across the county could be eligible for participation in the program.

The Board of Supervisors asked its staff to start working out the details of the program, drawing up a draft contract for landowners and laying out the borders of the "incentive zone." The Supes will hear the results in six months.
· Los Angeles County plans to lower property taxes on urban lots used for farming [CNS]
· 8,600 of LA's Empty Lots Could Become Urban Gardens [Curbed LA]