The City of
Columbus Land Bank Community Garden Program
The Land Redevelopment
Division is looking for community groups, non-profits, companies, and
individuals to help organize and build community gardens on Land Bank
properties. Our office manages vacant properties throughout the City.
Click here to search for
properties. Any property marked as Residential Vacant (no
structure present) may be eligible to be licensed as a garden. The
list contains all of the City Land Bank's properties that are for sale
including lots and structures. Urban farms, rain gardens, butterfly gardens,
production gardens, community beautification projects and other types of projects
that benefit the surrounding neighborhood are encouraged.
Please review the
Policy Fact Sheet before starting:
The City of Columbus Gardening Policy Fact Sheet
accepted anytime during the year on a rolling basis. Generally, it will take
two weeks or less to process an application depending on the total number of
applications received at one time or the feedback impacting an application. The
City Land Bank staff will do their best to process applications in a timely
manner, but please be considerate of our other obligations.
What is on the garden
- The parcel and address
you wish to license and why
- Your contact and
- Your experience with
gardening and the community and your objectives in a project narrative
- How will you fund the
project and what improvements will be made to the property?
- Community Garden Liability Waiver and Indemnification: All participants must sign a Community Garden
Liability Waiver and Indemnification form before entering onto the premises.
- Site Plan: A drawing of the
proposed garden with the locations of any proposed improvements to the
property. Drawings need to be legible and labeled with dimensions, but they can
be drawn by hand or done on a computer. We are checking for any obvious
building and zoning violations. If you are planning on constructing a fence on
the property, please review the Vision Clearance language in the Columbus City Code before
submitted your site plan.
Applications can be dropped off or mailed to the City of Columbus Land
Redevelopment Division, 845 Parsons Avenue, Columbus, OH 43206.
Community Garden License Agreement
- Process: If you
application is approved, gardeners are required to sign a Garden License
Agreement with the City, which contains language spelling out the
rules of the garden program. They are intended to reduce potential
conflicts between gardens and adjacent property owners and to ensure the sites
are well maintained.
- Length of Time: The License
Agreement is a maximum one year agreement unless more time is
determined appropriate by the City Land Bank staff, which will be
determined on a case by case basis. In the future, the City with City
Council authorization may do agreements for more than a year for gardens that
have been established and licensed for at least a couple of years.
- Renewing and Expiration: All
garden licenses expire on March 31st of the following year from when
you signed the agreement. In order to renew for another year, the City must be
notified in writing a month prior to the expiration date. Upon approval of an
extension, the licensee will sign a one year amendment and liability waiver
with the City and pay a renewal fee of $10.00 per parcel. If the license expires,
a new application will need to be completed by the community garden group,
- Expense: The cost to
license a community garden from the Land Bank is $50.00 per
parcel and $10.00 per parcel to renew. A check or money order made payable to the "Columbus City Treasurer"
is required. WE CANNOT ACCEPT CASH.
Community Garden Helpful Resources
What does the
City provide to help get started?
1. Water Containment System
- Since 2012, the City
Land Bank has provided 550 gallon cisterns to community gardeners who have demonstrated
a need for more water. It is at the discretion of the City if a garden warrants
approval of receiving a cistern.
- The City will also
provide one free fill up of water for the tank each year. Additional refills
may be provided depending on funding. Gardeners should make plans to refill it
by collecting rain water from an adjacent neighbor’s roof or by building a rain
catchment structure under 169 sq. ft. so a building permit is not required.
- Pumps are not included
with the cistern, but the City will raise it off the ground on cinder blocks.
2. A Voucher for Property
- Starting in 2015, the
City has provided qualified Land Bank gardeners a couple hundred dollars per
licensee to spend on buying items to help develop and building their gardens.
Eligible items include building materials, soil, plant food, and mulch. Tools
are not an acceptable purchase due to funding restrictions.
- The City currently
provides these funds through a partnership with the Central Ohio Community
Improvement Corporations (COCIC) and Lowe’s. Licensees will apply for funds
with the City after being licensed. The City will work with its partners to set
up spending accounts at Lowes for each licensee who is eligible. All purchases
are audited by the City and Lowe’s.
3. Soil and Com-til
- The City will provide for free a couple cubic yards of top soil to community gardens. The City through
its Department of Public Utilities also provides free up to ten cubic yards of
com-til to community gardens in its program. Com-til is also available for
purchase directly from Public Utilities. More information can be found on this
website: Com-til Compost.
Other Support In Franklin County For Community
Community Garden Grants
For more information on some available grants,
please visit the Columbus
Foundation Grants Center. Two annually available grants are:
- Being registered as a Section
501(c)(3) nonprofit of the Internal Revenue Code or have a fiscal
sponsor. A fiscal sponsor may be a registered 501(c)(3) organization or
government agency that has agreed to manage a project's awarded grant.
- Being located within
the City of Columbus or qualifying areas of Franklin County.
For questions regarding the City of Columbus
Land Bank Community Garden Program, please call (614) 645-LAND (5263) for the main office line.