Farms Threatened by Palm Beach Florida Zoning Changes and New Rules


This Goat is Wary of New Regulations

Homesteaders and Farmers Join Forces to Push Back

by Kimberly Hartke

In a rural area near West Palm Beach, a neighbor’s complaint about a loud rooster seems to have triggered a cascade of political moves that now threaten livestock farmers and homesteaders. A publicly owned Ag Reserve, purchased by the county in 1999, is now slated for development.  A coming Big Box Store and a slew of new restrictions on private property use may soon displace the entire small farm economy in The Acreage,  a sustainable community in Loxahatchee, Florida.

When landowners appealed to the Board of County Commissioners, they found out more distressing news.  The Commissioners were planning to lift zoning restrictions in the Ag Reserve to allow development. And, they informed landowners that the new land use restrictions were final and not open to debate. Here is an article about the issue on a blog in The New Times of Broward and Palm Beach County.

Kristina Carmichael, a concerned citizen had this to say, “The rooster issue was used to write new ordinances that “allow” folks in Agricultural/Residential zoned areas in our Ag Reserve to have livestock. At first this seemed great! We though we were going to shut down the nasty neighbor, and all would be well, especially considering this area has always been zoned for AG. Then, the Acreage Landowners Association got a hold of the ordinances. And they are TERRIBLE! Regulations up the wazoo, permits and fees and worst of all rules about where animals can be housed, in some cases, rendering 2/3 of a parcel of land completely unusable.”

Concerned farmers, homesteaders and consumers of farm products spoke against the proposed ordinances at a public hearing on July 26, 2012.

The Board of County Commissioners passed the unwelcome land use ordinances as written at that meeting. The new rules go into effect on August 23, 2012. See Palm Beach County AG Ordinance documents, and check out the last one on the list Livestock Keeping Summary of Amendments to see the particularly burdensome new rules.

What You Can Do

Please sign this petition to help The Acreage maintain its character as a community supporting small farm agricultural enterprise. If you know anyone that lives in Palm Beach, please send them this post with a request to get involved!

More details are in this Palm Beach County Examiner article.

Listen to Liberty Underground Live online radio show this Friday, 9:30am EST for an interview with Palm Beach activists about the issue.

If you are in the Palm Beach area, there is a hearing on August 23rd at 301 N. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, 6th Floor at 9:30am. Concerned citizens who show up will get to speak their objections to this assault on private property and small farm livelihoods.

Kimberly Hartke is publicist for the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), a nutrition education non-profit. WAPF members patronize small farms and believe in supporting humane animal husbandry.



  1. Well none of this is true. They are not changing any rules for 2 acres and above . Those rules were already there. ( read them) The only thing being added are for UNDER 2 acres. Now they (we) will now be able to have our wildlife and livestock on our property’s. Even the setbacks are less for those of us with less than 2 acres ( 15′ )
    If the rules have not been followed by some, they have no one else but themselves to be angy with. Ignorance of the rules is no excuse. I have asked this question many times and no one can give me an answer… What in this new wording is going to ” kill” the farm on your under 2 acres that you weren’t even allowed to have?? Now you can have one and it’s legal.

  2. In the ULDC (United land development code) manual for Palm Beach county there is nothing in the books for any livestock (unless bonafide agriculture) for the AR / RSA districts.

    There are zoning rules in the AR / USA districts (Livestock not less then 2 acres or 5 acres depending on the livestock/aviculture. )

    USA is URBAN service area. (inside city limits)
    RSA is RURAL service area. (outside city limits in unincorporated PBC)
    Totally two separate areas of the county.
    This ordinance deals with the RSA districts only.

    It has been implied for over 40 years (AR = agriculture residential) as well as its stated in “Our Comprehensive Land Use Plan” that the county has been following for decades that the AR DISTRICT (exurban and rural tiers specifically) IS GUARANTEED THE RIGHT to livestock. Not sure how more plainly this can be said. Guaranteed is pretty simple and straightforward. It doesn’t need to be on the books. till now. And I agree something now needs to be on the books so this ridiculousness doesn’t repeat!

    Outside of that everything else in the proposed ordinance is just limiting and burdensome to those who raise livestock. Permits to be pulled for a hog shelter / pen / cross fencing / lean to’s and so forth. Limitations on sales of livestock to 6 onsite sales a year. Animals maintained and cared for pursuant to Animal Care and control. Not to mention the setback requirements on livestock – front and side yard language of no permanent structures. Limiting. Burdensome.

    And then to make this all even more inane horses and horse farms are exempt from this language. So if you purchase a horse property, barn/fences/cross fencing already up, but don’t put horses on it instead livestock you could possibly be not in compliance with this code language.

    “The acreage” area is 110 square miles of 1.25 acre homesites. It has been in existence since the late 50’s and people have been raising livestock, selling livestock and living a rural unencumbered lifestyle ever since.

  3. Jack Moore says:

    here is my two cents posted as Comment on the petition:

    America’s food supply is in crisis and its population is getting sicker and sicker. Much of this is due to policy-driven moves at all levels of government operating in service to corporate interests. Please, please tell the affected public why these regulatory changes are indeed in the public’s best interests.

  4. We won! Pete Kennedy came down for one meeting. And then wrote to the commission hours before adoption…. They caved that morning. Livestock allowed, an d no limiting ordinances….. Woot!!!!

  5. I am truly grateful to the holder of this site who has
    shared this impressive post at here.


  1. […] See the background story on my previous blog post, Farms Threatened by Palm Beach Florida Zoning Changes and New Rules. […]

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