A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Covington’s new ‘Market Garden’ law lets urban farmers sell harvest; Sunday alcohol sales approved

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

Community gardens will now be going to market.

Photo courtesy of the East Row Garden Club.

In other words, those who are growing vegetables, flowers and plants in the city will now be able to sell them on the site, too.

City commissioners voted unanimously at their regularly scheduled legislative meeting Tuesday night to allow these “community gardens” to become “market gardens,” so long as owners follow the proper rules of the new ordinance. 

They will be allowed in each residential neighborhood, but in each instance permission must be obtained from the city Board of Adjustment. 

T. A. Frail, a senior editor at Smithsonian magazine, noted in a recent story that urban farming is becoming more popular by the season. 

“More people than ever are growing food in cities, which happen to be where most of the world’s people now live,” he wrote. “In windowsills, on rooftops and in community gardens, they’re burying seeds in Havana, Kinshasa and Hanoi—and in Chicago, Milwaukee and Atlanta.”

And now, Covington.

Similarly, market gardens are now all the rage, with about 800 million people trying them out around the world, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization reports.

The Kenton County Planning Commission considered the idea in January and also made a favorable recommendation. 

Market gardens will be, according to the city ordinance, subject to these standards:

All structures shall comply with the location requirements of the underlying zone regulations.

Composting shall be limited to plant materials generated on the site. and plant-based food waste and non-vegetative materials such as wood chips, pre-composted materials or soil to enhance these plant materials.

Water for purposes of maintaining the garden and for dust suppression shall be available on the site, either in the form of a water collection system or an on-site or off-site connection to the local water service.

Photo by Ryan Clark

Market gardens shall be operated so as not to create a nuisance condition for adjacent properties due to vibration or odor.

Market gardens shall only be permitted to be open to the public during the hours of 8 am and 8 pm.

Fences shall not exceed six feet in height, shall be at least 50 percent open if they are taller than four feet. and shall be constructed of wood, wood-wire combination, or ornamental metal

City okays alcohol sales on Sundays  

It’s going to be a fun St. Patrick’s Day Sunday this year — and also whenever a special event will warrant alcohol sales on Sunday.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve an amendment so the city can sell alcohol by the drink on a Sunday — specifically Sunday, March 17, which just so happens to be St. Patrick’s Day. And they want to get it started bright and early at 6 a.m.

City officials noted that the city has allowed such exceptions twice in recent years, once when the Bengals played in London, England, and another time for a cheering celebration during the 2017 Flying Pig Marathon.

But this change is different. Commissioners now won’t have to keep approving such amendments on special event years — or whenever St. Paddy’s Day falls on a Sunday.

“The proposed amendment will add a permanent exception to allow earlier alcohol sales by the drink on Sundays as long as a Special Event and other permits are obtained,” city documents read.

Changes to Special Event Permit

The city also heard a first reading to revise the Special Event Permit, which would, among other things:

-update application deadlines-include the addition of insurance or other financial requirements to provide financial security for event personnel costs

_revise appeal process requirements

City Solicitor Michael Bartlett made sure to note that the updates would not result in a change of fees or the date of acceptance, nor would it result in more or less events in the city.

He did say the city manager would now be able to consider the adverse effects on neighborhoods and businesses when deciding whether to accept a special event.

Also Tuesday …

*Commissioners approved the hiring of Jess Link as recreation program coordinator in the neighborhood services department.

*Commissioners approved the hiring of Abbey King as part-time recreation assistant in the neighborhood services department.

*Commissioners approved $25,000 to assist Keep Covington Beautiful with operating and program expenses.

*Commissioners approved a contract with Wausau Tile, Inc., to purchase public trash receptacles.

*Commissioners agreed to two resolutions, one supporting “sustainable-based energy policies and the reduction in green­house gas emissions in order to slow or reverse the adverse effects of climate change,” and another to support ORSANCO (the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission), which is “considering giving up its responsibility to regulate the Ohio River.” ORSANCO has existed since 1948 to control pollution in the Ohio River Basin.

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a caucus meeting held at 6 p.m., March 5, at the Covington City Hall at 20 West Pike St.

Contact the Northern Kentucky Tribune at news@nkytrib.com

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