[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of East Orange 5-19-2014 by Ord. No. 11-2014. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Director of the Department of Policy, Planning and Development is hereby ordered to develop and maintain a list that details vacant lots owned by the City of East Orange that are suitable for hosting community gardens. The Director of the Department of Policy, Planning and Development shall also develop and maintain a list that details the locations of existing community gardens that have been approved by the City of East Orange. Both lists shall be published on the City's website and maintained by the City's Custodian of Records. In addition, both lists shall be updated and certified on an annual basis by the Director of the Department of Policy, Planning and Development.
No person, group and/or entity shall be permitted to establish, maintain and/or operate a plot in a community garden unless it has completed an application, signed a license and indemnification agreement and paid the requisite fee. The application, license agreement and fee must be submitted on an annual basis. All plots shall be divided into eight-foot-by-eight-foot sections. The annual licensing fee for an eight-by-eight plot shall be $30 for residents and $50 for nonresidents. This fee is nonrefundable. Applications and fees shall be submitted to the Tax Collector and/or her designee. Persons who have been deemed to be one-hundred-percent disabled veterans are still required to complete the registration process; however, they will be exempted from paying the annual fee.
Participation in the community garden program will be subject to the following rules and regulations:
Hours. Operating hours for community gardens shall be from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. No one is permitted to enter a community garden during nonoperating hours. The entranceway to community gardens shall be locked during nonoperating hours.
Gardening season. Planting, harvesting and work related to same may only be performed during the gardening season. The gardening season shall commence on May 1 and conclude on November 1.
Rules of conduct. All gardeners must maintain good conduct and civil behavior at all times. Verbal and/or physically abusive behavior will not be tolerated. All gardeners and their visitors shall comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulations of the United States, the State of New Jersey and the City of East Orange. Gardeners shall also be bound by the rules and regulations that are in place for the use of the City's parks and recreation areas.
Pets. Pets and other animals are prohibited from entering gardening areas.
Structures. Elaborate garden structures, fountains or the use of multiple decorative items are prohibited. The City of East Orange shall have the sole discretion to determine whether a structure violates this provision. In addition, no permanent improvements may be erected at a community garden unless they are expressly approved by the City of East Orange.
Smoking. Smoking is prohibited on the premises of community gardens.
Maintenance. All waste, weeds and other refuse shall be disposed of off site by the licensee generating same. All areas of the garden shall remain free of trash, dead plants and other debris. Tires and similar structures that retain or allow standing water to accrue are prohibited. This provision shall not be construed so as to bar licensees from maintaining devices that are used to collect rain water. The City of East Orange shall have the sole authority to determine whether a device runs afoul of this provision.
Signage. Each community garden shall have a sign that is prominently displayed, indicating that it is a community garden. Signs shall be supplied by the City's Department of Policy, Planning and Development. The rules and regulations governing activity at community gardens shall also be prominently displayed at each community garden on signs supplied by the City's Department of Policy, Planning and Development. Each individual eight-by-eight-foot plot shall also have signage indicating the identity of its current licensee.
Invasive species. No invasive species of plants may be planted in a community garden. The City of East Orange shall have the sole authority to determine whether a plant is an invasive species.
Licensees shall nurture and develop plants in the garden, including watering, fertilizing, pruning, weeding and harvesting, as required. The City of East Orange reserves the right to bar the usage of fertilizers and/or herbicides that it deems to be harmful. Licensees must immediately notify the City's Department of Planning, Policy and Development in writing if they unable or unwilling to maintain their plot.
In-ground conventional gardening, wherein plants are placed directly into native soil, is banned. Raised bed gardening, wherein soil and plants are placed into three-foot- to four-foot-wide beds that are raised six inches to waist-high above native soil, shall be the sole method of cultivation that is permissible in community gardens. The City of East Orange shall have the sole authority to determine whether a plot is in compliance with the raised bed gardening requirement.