LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A proposal was forwarded to the Los Angeles City Council on Monday under which residents would no longer require permission to plant vegetable gardens on strips of city-owned land between sidewalks and roads.

Under the proposal, gardeners would be able to sow in residential areas, so long as their plants do not impede the ability of people to walk on nearby sidewalks or through public areas.

The plants are also prohibited from being controlled substances such as marijuana, and cannot be poisonous, invasive or noxious. The maximum height allowed for the plants is 24 or 36 inches, depending on the location.

Enforcement of the restrictions would be prompted solely by complaints from the public.

The recommendation of the Bureau of Street Services was supported by the Los Angeles Board of Public works with a unanimous 5-0 vote. The proposal is scheduled to be considered by the City Council on Wednesday.

“This is an important first step in creating a simplified process for residents wishing to harvest their own food,” Monica Rodriguez of the Public Works Commission said. “The environment will benefit, the gardens will increase our supply of food, and it represents a significant way to bring neighbors together.”

The policy requires the council’s approval, with an ordinance yet to be drafted by city attorneys.

With the rules still being worked out by officials, the City Council originally waived enforcement of a law that makes edible vegetable gardens illegal back in August.

Two years ago, South Los Angeles resident Ron Finley gathered neighbors and friends with the intention of growing an urban garden of onions, celery, broccoli, peppers and other vegetables along a 150-foot long strip nearby his home near Exposition Boulevard.

The garden resulted in a fine for Finley, although he later gathered signatures for a petition to challenge the rule restricting the gardens. Finley eventually gained the support of council members, including Herb Wesson, who helped initiate a study on the amendment the city code.

Two more gardeners were fined in July, prompting community members and members of the media to investigate what had become of a study Wesson asked for in 2011.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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