Fences and good neighbors: Detroit may re-examine urban farming ordinances

Jan 5, 2016

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

For years, some Detroiters have raised animals that are usually associated with rural farms: chickens, goats, rabbits, and more.

Although it is technically illegal to keep livestock, residents of Detroit have been able to do so because of bureaucratic dysfunction. 

Now there is an effort, led in part by Detroit Councilman James Tate, to come up with a clear ordinance regarding what is and is not allowed within the city limits. 

"We're really at the point where we want to ask the communities, 'Are you ready for this ordinance?' If so, we'll move forward. If not, we'll stand down." Tate says. 

Tate also points out that until the passage of a 2013 agriculture ordinance he sponsored, the many urban farms in Detroit were also technically illegal.  

The proposed ordinance could be in front of the Detroit City Council for a vote by early this summer.