Gardening Answers Knowledgebase
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PAL Questions: 1 - Garden Tools:
I want to plant my parking strip for a vegetable garden. Do I need a permit from the city? And if so where do I get a permit?
You do not need a Street Use permit for gardening activities in the planting strip. The City of Seattle revised its guidelines for parking strip gardening in 2009. Client Assistance Memo (CAM) #2305 provides the details.
Linden Mead, a Seattle Department of Transportation arborist, addresses one of the concerns I would have about planting edible crops next to a street:
"Although the list may not be exhaustive, and gardeners are encouraged to be creative, they do need to follow some parameters. Plants grown within the area equal to or less than 30 feet from an intersection may not exceed 24" (2 feet) in height at maturity. This is so that visibility is adequately maintained (cars and pedestrians visible to each other). When a planting strip is 5 feet wide or less, plants may not exceed 36" (3 feet) in height at maturity. This is to help assure pedestrian safety/visibility as well as to maintain pedestrian walkways and the roadway clear of overgrowth which may impede travel on the right-of-way. With wider strips, it is possible to put in scattered, taller plants, if planted in the middle of the strip.
"There are also regulations about 'hardscape' - which may include planting beds in the strip. Raised beds may be constructed from timber but rocks or bricks that are easily moved (read here 'picked up and thrown') are not allowed. Permits are also required to plant, prune or remove trees."
Seattle Department of Transportation has specific information about growing food in the planting or parking strip. There are some concerns as well as a few restrictions, described here:
"SDOT prohibits fruit trees because of the slipping hazard for pedestrians from fallen fruit. For some residents, it's their only sunny area to grow vegetables. But the planting strip is a public space, part of the public right-of-way, so it's hard to control what pets or people do there. It can be harder to reach with water, and there may be concerns with the soil." It is also a good idea to test the soil for contaminants before planting edible crops.
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January 13 2017 10:35:53