L.A. County considers reduced taxes for urban farming properties 

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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to consider reduced tax assessments for property owners who lease out vacant lots for urban farming.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas recommended the incentive program in hopes that green vegetables and fruit orchards will replace urban blight.

“This program would create a win-win,” Ridley-Thomas said. “It will increase the amount of healthy fruits and vegetables available within our food deserts as well as reduce eyesores created by vacant, often times blighted lots.”

The California Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act, passed in January, gives municipalities the leeway to assess lower taxes on properties leased for agricultural use for at least five years.

Last month, Los Angeles City Councilmen Felipe Fuentes and Curren Price proposed implementing the act locally on lots of three acres or less. Before moving forward, the council needs county approval, as the county is responsible for levying property taxes.

The board directed staffers to estimate the number of eligible vacant properties countywide and return in January with a report on costs and implementation.

City News Service