Overview of U.S. Cities

Local zoning ordinances that include home occupation rules (rules about home-based businesses) and landscaping rules can make it difficult for urban farmers to grow crops in cities. The charts below include examples of these types of rules from across California. Rules change, so be sure to check your local zoning ordinances for the most current information.

Home Occupation Rules

Home occupation rules may restrict business activities to a particular area of the property or may explicitly prohibit certain types of activities. For example, Costa Mesa prohibits sales of products from the home, so Costa Mesa residents cannot set up farm stands to sell homegrown produce. Saratoga requires the home occupation to take place inside the dwelling, so a resident could not sell crops grown outside. These types of rules are common across the state, although some cities and counties have eliminated them, and many others are starting to change.

Municipality Ordinance Type Language
Roseville Outdoor Prohibition All Home Occupation activities shall occur within the dwelling or accessory structures. No Home Occupation activity shall occur outside at any time, nor shall any equipment or material relating to the Home Occupation be parked or stored outside the residence at any time.
Sales Ban Retail or wholesale sales with transfer of products to the buyer at the residential site
Greenfield Visibility Restriction There shall be no display of products produced by the applicants of the dwelling that is visible in any manner from the outside of the dwelling unit
Outdoor Prohibition  Storage, operation or display of materials, goods, supplies or equipment related to the operation of a home occupation may not be located outside the residence
Sales Ban Sales: There shall be no products sold on the premises
Santa Clara Outdoor Prohibition  The use is conducted entirely within the living unit in an area that does not exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the dwelling unit’s floor area exclusive of garage floor areas or the floor areas of accessory structures; use of the garage or accessory structures for home occupation activities is not allowed. No outdoor storage may occur
Sales Ban No article is displayed, sold, or offered for sale on the premises.
Santa Cruz Cty. Outdoor Prohibition The home occupation shall be carried on entirely within the dwelling, or in an accessory structure normally allowed in the zone district in which the site is located.
Outdoor Prohibition No outdoor storage, operations or activity is allowed unless a Level V use approval is obtained, in which case the allowed outdoor use shall be completely screened from the street and adjoining properties.
Watsonville Outdoor Prohibition The home occupation shall be conducted entirely within the dwelling unit or existing accessory structure;
There shall be no change in the outside appearance of the dwelling or premises
Raw materials, intermediate and finished materials, or products, equipment, parts, appliances, vehicles, and by-products of the home occupation shall be stored indoors and shall not be visible from outside the premises
Time Restrictions The home occupation shall not be conducted between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.
Water Usage Restriction The home occupation, in combination with the residential use of the dwelling, shall not cause a substantial increase in the use of any one or more public utilities including, but not limited to, water, sewer, gas, electricity, and garbage collection
Healdsburg Outdoor Prohibition Home occupations shall be conducted either within a dwelling or in a detached accessory structure on the same property by a resident thereof.
Pesticide Regulation Activities involving substantial amounts of dangerous or hazardous materials, including but not limited to pesticides, herbicides, poisons and highly flammable materials as determined by the Fire Chief.
Calimesa Outdoor Prohibition Home occupations are limited to those uses which may be conducted inside of a residential dwelling, without in any way changing the appearance or condition of the residence
No outdoor storage shall be permitted
Sales Ban There shall be no direct sales of products or merchandise from the home
Turlock Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no outside activity, storage, or display.
No external alterations of residential dwellings, for the purpose of drawing attention to the business, or in association with the operation of the business, shall be permitted.
Pleasant Hill Outdoor Prohibition The home occupation is conducted entirely within the dwelling unit unless otherwise allowed under subsection E of this section
Wasco Sales Ban There shall be no displays, sale or delivery of merchandise or advertising signs on the premises
Sonoma Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no exterior indication of the home occupation activity from the adjoining public rights-of-way or from surrounding properties
Storage shall not occur out-of-doors
Time Restrictions The home occupation shall not be conducted between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
Larkspur Outdoor Prohibition The occupation shall not involve any type of business conducted outdoors on the site at any time.
Sales Ban No display for sale of a commodity is allowed on the premises
Benicia Outdoor Prohibition No outdoor storage shall be permitted
Fortuna Outdoor Prohibition The home occupation shall be conducted wholly within an enclosed structure, either within the dwelling unit or a residential accessory structure.
no other exterior indication of the home occupation or variation from the residential character of the property
All materials associated with the home occupation shall be stored in the residence or residential accessory structure.
Sales Ban No retail sales shall be allowed on the premises, except where the person conducting the home occupation serves as an agent or intermediary between off-site suppliers, in which case all articles, except for samples, shall be received, stored, and sold directly to customers at off-premises locations.
Animal Ban Exclusions. The following activities and similar activities shall not in any case qualify as a home occupation: Care, treatment, boarding, or breeding of animals
Southgate Sales Ban No customers, clients or visitors shall come to the permitted dwelling unit in connection with the authorized home occupation
Outdoor Prohibition “Home occupation” means and includes an occupation or business activity conducted for financial gain within a dwelling unit in a residential zone
A home occupation shall be conducted entirely within the authorized dwelling unit, and the activities of such home occupation shall not be visible or noticeable outside such dwelling unit
 No storage of goods, wares or merchandise, nor of any mechanical or construction equipment, shall be permitted on the premises of the authorized dwelling unit
Utility Use No use of utilities (i.e., water, gas, electricity) shall be permitted beyond that which is normal for the use of property for residential purposes.
Cloverdale Outdoor Prohibition The home occupation permit is intended to allow for enterprises that are conducted within homes existing in residential zoning districts
Half Moon Bay Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no interior or exterior activity related to the home occupation inconsistent with or interfering with residential use of the property or detrimental to property in the vicinity.
Entirely Within.  A home occupation shall be conducted entirely within a building, either the main residence or an accessory building, and shall occupy no more than five hundred square feet of floor area.  No outdoor storage of materials or supplies shall be permitted in conjunction with the home occupation.
No On-site Retail.  The home occupation shall not involve on-site retail business, interior or exterior alterations, nor construction features not normally found in dwellings.
Fairfield Sales Ban Delivery or pick-up to or from the premises, except postal and small parcel, is prohibited.
Outdoor Prohibition The home occupation shall be conducted entirely within the principal dwelling.
Outdoor storage or storage in any accessory building or structure is prohibited.
San Carlos Outdoor Prohibition 1.    Residential Appearance. The residential appearance of the unit within which the home occupation is conducted shall be maintained, and no exterior indication of a home occupation is permitted
Growing Area Limitation 4.    Maximum Size. The space exclusively devoted to the home occupation (including any associated storage) shall not exceed twenty-five percent of the residential unit floor area.
Sales Ban On-Site Client Contact. No customer or client visits are permitted except for personal instruction services (e.g., musical instruction or training, art lessons, academic tutoring) which may have up to two students at one time.
Direct Sales Prohibition. Home occupations involving the display or sale of products or merchandise are not permitted from the site except by mail, telephone, Internet, or other mode of electronic communication.
Type Prohibitions 6.    Animal boarding, care, training, breeding, raising or grooming, or veterinary services, conducted on the premises; Commercial food preparation, food handling, processing or packing other than specialized minor cooking or baking; 20. Retail sales
Oakley Sales Ban No commodity shall be sold or displayed on the premises, except for goods sold as part of a cottage food operation
Outdoor Prohibition G.    PERMITTED LOCATIONS; STORAGE. The home occupation may only be conducted and the storage of materials, equipment, inventory, supplies and files for the home occupation(s) is only permitted inside the dwelling unit or an entirely enclosed roofed accessory structure that is not a garage. Storage of materials, equipment, inventory, supplies, and files for the home occupation(s) shall not cumulatively occupy more than 25 percent of the permitted area for the home occupation as determined pursuant to Subsection (D) above.
Type Prohibitions D.    FOOD HANDLING. Those occupations which entail food handling, food processing, food warehousing, or food packaging, except in conjunction with a cottage food operation with a valid Health Department permit/license.
Portola Outdoor Prohibition No home occupation activity shall occur outside at any time, nor shall any equipment
Sales Ban Multi-tiered system of home occupations, more than one direct sale per day requires conditional use permit
Merchandise sold from home requires CUP.
Rialto Outdoor Prohibition Any storage of equipment, materials or supplies in connection with the home occupation must be in an enclosed structure. No outdoor storage of equipment, materials, or supplies will be permitted
The home occupation shall be conducted entirely within the principal structure or dwelling unit. Said home occupation may be located anywhere within the dwelling unit but shall not occupy more than twenty-five percent of the total habitable square footage of the dwelling unit;
Utility Use The home occupation shall not result in excess use of utilities and public facilities beyond that which is normally provided for the residential use of the premises;
Daly City Sales Ban Sales and exchange of merchandise shall not be permitted at the dwelling.
Type Prohibitions food preparation
Sierra Madre Outdoor Prohibition All aspects of the home occupation shall be conducted entirely within an enclosed structure. Articles, tools, materials, merchandise, products, activities and other related items or actions produced or used in conjunction with the home occupation shall not be stored, displayed or conducted outdoors.
Mendota Sales Ban Except as otherwise permitted by this chapter, there shall be no sales of products or services not produced on the premises;
Sales Limitation For home occupations involving client attendance at the premises, no more than eight clients shall be served on any given day.
Utility Use There shall be no use of utilities or community facilities beyond that normal to the use of the property for residential purposes.
Tehachipi Type Prohibitions All uses not expressly permitted in Section 18.94.020 are prohibited.
The home occupation shall be conducted by appointment only.
Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no outside storage of any kind related to the home occupation.
Storage of stock in trade shall not exceed thirty square feet of floor area and shall be contained within.
Torrance Outdoor Prohibition All activity must be conducted inside the residence or a permitted, enclosed accessory structure, with the exception of the parking of an allowable vehicle;
Sales Ban No customers may come to the home occupation residence.
Brisbane Sales Ban Stock in trade may be kept on the site provided the stock in trade is sold off the premises or by limited appointment.
Campbell Type Prohibitions Businesses which entail the breeding, grooming, harboring, raising, or training of dogs, cats, or other animals on the premises;
Outdoor Prohibition The home occupation business shall be carried on entirely within a dwelling and not in the yard surrounding the dwelling, an attached or detached garage or detached accessory structure.
Sales Ban No clients on premises. No clients or patrons of the business or business operator shall come to the residence containing the home occupation for the purpose of the conduction of business, except one pupil at any one time for music instruction is allowed.
Chino Hills Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no exterior operations, storage, or display of materials to be used in conjunction with a home occupation.
Rosemead Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no outdoor display, sales or storage of materials or equipment related to the home occupation on the premises.
All home occupations shall be conducted only within the enclosed area of the dwelling and shall be clearly incidental to the residential use of the structure. The business may be located in a garage, provided all off-street parking for the applicable zoning district is met.
Westlake Village Sales Ban There shall be no sales of goods or displays of goods on the premises.
Outdoor Prohibition The home occupation shall not encroach into any required parking, yard, or open space area.
Tracy Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no exterior evidence of the conduct of the home occupation;
The occupation shall not be conducted in an accessory structure, nor shall equipment or supplies be stored in an accessory structure or outside the dwelling. The occupation may be conducted, and supplies and equipment may be stored, in a garage, as long as required off-street parking is maintained;
Sales Ban There shall be no on-site sale of products;
Villa Park Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no exterior evidence of the conduct of a home occupation.
A home occupation shall be conducted only within the enclosed living area of the dwelling unit. There shall be no use of garage space which interferes with the parking of vehicles necessary to satisfy the off-street parking requirements of this chapter.
San Buenaventura Outdoor Prohibition No supplies or equipment used for, or in any way related to, the home occupation may be stored outside the dwelling unit;
Ranchos Palos Verdes Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no storage of materials and/or supplies, associated with the home occupation, outside of the residence, which may be visible from adjoining properties and/or the public right-of-way.
Utility Use There shall be no use of utilities or community facilities which change the residential character of the neighborhood and dwelling unit where the business is being conducted beyond the level which is normal for the use of the property for residential purposes.
Fontana Sales Ban There shall be no sale of products or services not produced on the premises.
Ione Sales Ban On-site sales. There shall be no products sold on the premises except artist’s originals or products individually made to order on the premises, or as part of electronic commerce.
Products which are not “artist’s originals” or “individually made to order” may be constructed on-site, using equipment normally found in a residence; however, these products may only be sold at a permitted commercial location.
Outdoor Prohibition Storage. There shall be no storage of material, products, or supplies out-of-doors.
Commerce Outdoor Prohibition A home occupation business shall be conducted within a dwelling and shall be clearly incidental to the residential use of the structure.
No building or space outside of the main building shall be used for the home occupation business.
There shall be no outdoor storage or display of materials or equipment maintained on the premises.
Sales Ban No direct sales shall be conducted on the premises of any home occupation.
Hesperia Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no change in the outward appearance of the building or premises, or other visible evidence of the activity.
The use shall not involve storage of materials outside any structures
Area Limit No more than fifteen (15) percent of the total square footage of the dwelling, or one room of the dwelling, whichever is less, shall be used for the home occupation.
Grand Terrace Sales Ban On-premises sales and vending
There shall be no direct sales of products or merchandise.
Area Limit Up to twenty-five percent of the living space or two hundred fifty square feet, whichever is greater, of the residence may be used for storage of materials and supplies related to the home occupation.
Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no outdoor storage of materials or equipment, nor shall merchandise be visible from outside the residence.
The home occupation shall be confined within the main residential building. A detached garage shall be considered as part of the main residential building.
Saratoga Outdoor Prohibition A home occupation shall be conducted within a dwelling by an occupant thereof, and shall be clearly incidental to the use of the structure as a dwelling.
A home occupation shall not be conducted in an accessory structure and there shall be no storage of equipment or supplies in an accessory structure or outside the dwelling.
There shall be no external alteration of the dwelling in which a home occupation is conducted.
San Fernando Outdoor Prohibition A home occupation shall be conducted only within the enclosed living area of the dwelling unit.
No storage or display of materials, goods, supplies or equipment related to the operation of a home occupation shall be visible from the outside of any structure located on the premises.
Sales Ban To the extent that there is any sale of any item related to a home occupation by the permittee as seller, no delivery of that item to the buyer shall occur on or adjacent to the premises.
Moraga Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no exterior evidence of the conduct of the home occupation, nor shall the home occupation be visible from off site
Calexico Sales Ban There shall be no stock in trade or exterior storage of materials in the conduct of a home occupation.
There shall be no sale of goods on the premises.
Outdoor Prohibition A home occupation shall be conducted entirely within a dwelling, if in an attached or a detached garage shall not impede the use of said garage for vehicle storage.
Costa Mesa Sales Ban There shall be no direct sale of products, either wholesale or retail on the premises.
Outdoor Prohibition No building, space outside of the main building, or garage, attached or detached, shall be used for the home occupation.
Utility Use There shall be no use of utilities or community facilities beyond that normal to the residential use of the property.
Barstow Sales Ban There will be no direct sales of products or merchandise;
Type Prohibitions Business related to the home occupation shall be conducted substantially away from the premises, and on-premises activities shall include only telephone calls, postal correspondence, bookkeeping, recordkeeping, or such other activities determined by the code enforcement officer to be in accordance with the provisions of this section;
Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no outdoor storage of materials or equipment associated with the home occupation, nor shall materials or equipment be visible from outside the house;
There shall be no exterior evidence of the conduct of a home occupation, including, but not limited to, noise, odor, color, materials, lighting, signs, and vibrations;
Irvine Sales ban The dwelling unit shall not be the primary point of customer pickup or delivery nor shall the home occupation cause a significant increase in vehicular traffic in the neighborhood.
Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no signs or other exterior evidence relating to the home occupation.
Colton Utility Use There Shall be no Use of utilities beyond that normally required for Use of the Property for residential purposes.
Sales Ban There Shall be no direct Sales of products or merchandise from the home.
Outdoor Prohibition There Shall be no outside storage of Materials and/or supplies.
Camarillo Sales Ban No direct sale of products from the premises;
Outdoor Prohibition No building or space outside the main building shall be used for home occupational purposes other than limited storage of materials in any garage or accessory building;
Landscape The residential unit shall be maintained in keeping with the neighborhood as to upkeep, maintenance and appearance
Type Prohibitions Uses which entail food handling, processing or packing
Montclair Sales Ban No commodities sold upon the premises;
Outdoor Prohibition No building or space outside the main building shall used for home occupation purposes;
Utility Use There shall be no use of utilities or community facilities beyond that normal to the use of the property for residential purposes.
La Palma Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no exterior evidence of the conduct of a home occupation.
)A home occupation shall be conducted only within the enclosed living area of the dwelling unit or within the enclosed garage.
Sales Ban There shall be no physical delivery of goods directly to customers at the premises.
Port Huenema Type Prohibitions General retail and service stores
Outdoor Prohibition Activities conducted outside the enclosed living area of the main dwelling unit;
Activities which generate any outdoor storage of materials, equipment or vehicles
Activities involving commercial sale of goods or rendering of services on the premises;
Willits Outdoor Prohibition A home occupation shall be conducted entirely within a dwelling, and shall not be permitted in any accessory structure or within any yard space.
Anderson Outdoor Prohibition Home occupation shall be conducted only within the enclosed living area of the dwelling unit, the garage, or detached outbuildings.
No storage or display of materials, goods, supplies, or equipment related to the operation of a home occupation shall be visible from outside the premises.
Orinda Type Prohibitions Agricultural Use Home Occupation not permitted in any residential zones
Morgan Hill Outdoor Prohibition All uses shall be conducted only in one room of the dwelling or garage.
Corte Madera Sales Ban There shall be no retail or wholesale sales of merchandise at the home.
Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no outdoor storage of materials related to the home occupation.
Long Beach Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no outside operations, storage or display of materials or projects;
Material Regualtion No toxic, explosive, flammable, combustible, corrosive, etiologic, radioactive or other restricted materials shall be used or stored on the site
Size Limit .Total storage of materials or products used in the business shall not exceed one hundred twenty-eight (128) cubic feet. There shall be no excessive or unsightly storage of materials or supplies for purposes other than those permitted in the residential district in which it is located.
Type Prohibitions Food preparation
Any use that requires the use of toxic, explosive, flammable, combustible, corrosive, etiologic, radioactive or other restricted materials
Santa Ana Sales Ban There shall be no sales activity, either wholesale or retail, except mail order sales.
Fowler Outdoor Prohibition There shall be no external alteration of appearances of the dwelling in which the home occupation is conducted that would reflect the existence of said home occupation.
Material Regualtion The home occupation shall not involve the storage or use of pesticides.
Redding Outdoor Prohibition There shall not be any exterior evidence of the conduct of a home occupation.
A home occupation shall be conducted only within an enclosed living area of the dwelling unit or the garage
Sales Ban Customers or clients shall not be permitted at the residence except to receive educational, therapeutic, or counseling services
Calabasas City Material Regualtion The use shall not involve the storage of flammable, explosive or hazardous materials.
Outdoor Prohibition The use shall not require any modification not customarily found in a dwelling, nor shall the use be visible from the street or from neighboring properties.
Gustine Sales Ban On-site sales, except that mail order businesses may be allowed where there is no stock-in-trade on the site;
Outdoor Prohibition The use shall not require any exterior modification to the structure not customarily found in a dwelling, nor shall the home occupation activity be visible from a public right-of-way, or from neighboring residential properties.
Citrus Heights Sales Ban On-site sales other than of artist originals produced on site, except that mail order businesses may be allowed where there is no stock-in-trade on the site;

 

Landscaping Rules

Urban farmers should be aware of important water conservation rules that may limit types of crops and irrigation practices. Other landscaping rules deal with safety related to visibility and hazards, while others are purely aesthetic. Urban farmers who advocate for changes in landscaping rules should consider the policy goals of the rules when assessing the likelihood of success.

Municipality Ordinance Type Language
Glendale Zoning Code, Landscaping Section Requires 50% planted landscape in many areas, must be “maintained in a neat and orderly manner”
Mountain View Water Conservation in Landscape Regulations Max 25% high-water-use plants; 80% native/low-water-use plants
Hawaiian Gardens Zoning Code, Landscaping & Screening Section Front yards which are not occupied by driveways or walkways shall be landscaped with sod, shrubs and trees. The side yards of single-family dwelling units shall be improved with concrete, decorative stone or covered with sod. All rear yards shall have a minimum of 50% landscape area
La Cañada Flintridge Zoning Code Currently only mentions agricultural use in open space zones; news article said that general plan is under revision, and if adopted, then zoning ordinance would be revised in a way that would make persimmon orchard illegal; can’t find draft of proposed revisions – just summary; hearing on general plan set for 2/3/14
Oakland Planning Ordinance Crop and animal raising requires a conditional use permit in many zones and allowed only as accessory uses in the central districts and industrial districts
San Juan Capistrano Zoning Crop and tree farming not allowed in some districts
San Buenaventura Zoning 24H.210 – Landscape Guidelines (Private Lots): Single dwelling front yards: Front yards shall be planted and maintained from the back of sidewalk to a facade or garden wall. Front yards shall have at least one tree (where space permits). At facades, low shrubs and/or ground cover shall be planted against the facade. At garden walls, low shrubs and wall vines or tall shrubs alone shall be planted against the wall. Lawn is discouraged (but not prohibited) except in high activity zones. Lawn can be used in front yard applications, but shall be limited to no more than sixty percent of the entire front yard area. Side yards on corners are considered front yards and subject to the same requirements as identified in this article. … Other yards. Rear yards may have 1 or 2 trees planted per suggested list. Fruiting trees are especially recommended. Side yards need not be landscaped, except as required to the extent that they affect the quality of the public space. If visible from the public realm, i.e., the sidewalk or street, rear and side yards shall be landscaped and maintained. Includes list of suggested plants; zoning ordinance also defines agriculture as commercial production and restricts it to certain areas
San Clemente Zoning 17.68.040 General landscaping requirements. Landscaping shall consist primarily of drought tolerant living plant material; Residential zones: A minimum of one 15-gallon tree or equivalent, as approved by the City Planner, per 25 lineal feet of street frontage shall be planted in the front yard setback area
Yuba County Zoning For single family residences, Front yard landscaping consisting of trees, shrubs, hedges, ground cover, lawn or any other similar living material shall be planted; in agricultural districts screen trees must be used adjuacent to residential uses to block view of activities
Crescent City Zoning “Landscaping” means plant material including but not limited to grass, ground covers, shrubs, vines, trees and organic matter such as mulch. – similar language in many ordinances – could consider using NFA to expand examples given in landscaping ordinances; doesn’t prohibit vegetables, but doesn’t explicitly allow them either
Willits Zoning Landscaping shall include the planting and maintenance of some combination of trees, ground cover, shrubs, vines, flowers or lawns, with the plant materials consisting of native species and/or drought-resistant plants.
Lancaster Health & Safety “Plant materials” means trees, shrubs, vines, groundcovers, flowers and grass.
Morro Bay Zoning Agriculture only in some districts
Blythe Zoning 17.22.050 Trees in front yard of dwellings. A minimum of two deciduous or evergreen shade trees conforming to the measurements specified in this section shall be planted in the front yard of any lot on which a dwelling unit or units are to be built or placed.
Ridgecrest Zoning Some districts allow as a permitted use: Private greenhouses and horticultural collections, flower and vegetable gardens and fruit trees not intended for commercial purposes.