The Indy Rezone Project


If you haven’t heard, the city of Indianapolis is in the midst of revising its zoning ordinances. As described on the Indy Rezone website, a zoning ordinance has two parts – the text that outlines the ordinance and a map. Only the text is being revised as part of the project. The map will not change.

Here are some helpful links to reference as you consider this issue:
Existing Indianapolis zoning ordinances
Existing Indianapolis zoning map
Proposed zoning ordinances document
Leave a comment about the changes on the Indy Rezone website

Because zoning can both positively and negatively impact the growth of our local food community, the Slow Food Indy team has reviewed the proposed document and created this summary to guide you to the sections that impact urban agriculture, homesteading and other local food and livestock topics. This summary is intended to help you make an informed decision about the proposed changes.

Please keep in mind that all the items listed here are not necessarily changes – many of these regulations exist currently.  It is also important to note that those who are operating legally within the current ordinances will be allowed to continue to do so once any changes are made. These regulations will apply to new additions to property and if you want to use land in a way that is not approved you may seek a zoning variance to allow for the use you intend.

Agricultural Use

See page 434 of the Proposed Zoning Ordinances

This section includes ordinances related to livestock, farmer’s markets, community gardens and urban farms

Key points in this section:

  • Confinement operations for cattle, hogs or poultry must be a minimum of 500 feet away from a dwelling located on a lot under 3 acres in size (unless it is the main home).
  • New regulations for farmer’s markets that allow for the use of land to sell food, food products and arts and crafts that were produced in Indiana. Parking and space requirements and a maximum of 3 operational days per week are all specified.
  • Property being used primarily as a garden must be under 3 acres in size and must be fenced if it is adjacent to a “dwelling district”.
  • Regulations that outline maximum sizes and space requirements for greenhouses, cold frames, storage sheds, gazebos, shelters, beehives, rain barrels and compost areas.
  • Requirement that site drainage and maintenance must prevent water and fertilizer from draining onto adjacent property.
  • Limited hours of operation for power equipment and generators (no earlier than 7 AM, no later than 10 PM)
  • Sales of products grown onsite are permitted on the site in an area no larger than 100 square feet.
  • Food may be grown in soil native to the site as long as it has been tested and meets standards set in the ordinance.

Personal Gardens and Livestock

See page 474 of the Proposed Zoning Ordinances

This section applies to home gardeners, beekeepers, backyard chickens and other urban agriculture / livestock on residential property.

Key points in this section:

  • The growing of vegetables, grasses, fruits, flowers, shrubs, vines, and trees shall be permitted on any lot.
  • Structures related to home gardens are restricted in size.
  • Sales of products grown in home gardens is permitted with some restrictions.
  • Livestock is permitted outside at single or two-family dwellings with some restrictions. Owners must reside on the property with the animals. Outside exercise  / pasture area must be fenced. The number of animals is limited based on property size:
  • Chickens – maximum 10 allowed on lots less than 1/3 acre, up to 24 allowed on larger lots. Only 1 rooster is allowed and must be kept in an enclosure from dusk to dawn.
  • Rabbits – maximum 12 allowed
  • Sheep and Goats that are female, male goats under 1year, or neutered male goats – maximum 2 allowed if your property is at least 1 acre in size
  • Equine (horses, donkeys, mules) and Lamoids (alpacas, llamas) – maximum 2 allowed if your lot is at least 2 acres
  • Beekeeping is permitted in all districts.

Are you interested in learning more or participating in the on-going discussion?

Public comments are being accepted until July 18th. Submit a comment here.

Urban Ag Zoning Comment Sessions

Wednesday, July 16th – Two Sessions
12 p.m. – The Platform – 202 E. Market St.
5:30 p.m. – Purdue Extension – Marion County
 – 1202 E. 38th Street – Discovery Hall, Suite 201 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds

  • If asked to pay for parking at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, tell attendant you are going to a Purdue Extension event.
  • Everyone is welcome to attend both events and discuss the draft code as it relates to urban agriculture.
  • Indy Rezone and Purdue Extension – Marion County will start the discussion, listen, and answer questions.

Watch for formal statements from City-County Councilman Zach Adamson and the Indy Food Council.

Already have an opinion on this issue? Think our summary is missing something? Please share it with us in the comments below!

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