Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning


City and Regional Planning


Paul Wack


The conservation of agricultural land is an important and challenging part of local and regional planning. Prime agricultural soils and viable agricultural operations serve as a vital part of California’s identity and economy. The conversion of land from farming to non-agricultural use significantly increases the potential for conflict between adjoining land uses and intensifies the pressure to develop adjacent farmland. Agricultural buffers serve as a tool to mitigate potential conflict between adjacent non-compatible land uses and protect both farming operations and residents from nuisance complaints. The City of Arroyo Grande has agricultural buffer policies which apply to development taking place adjacent to agricultural land. The City’s general plan requires a minimum100 foot buffer between all parcels proposed for non-agricultural development adjacent to agricultural land. The buffer area is also required to contain a minimum 20 foot wide landscaped area. City policy however, does not provide any specific direction or criteria regarding the actual construction of an agricultural buffer. The purpose of this project is to evaluate agricultural buffer policies present in other jurisdictions throughout California and determine appropriate criteria for the construction and maintenance of an agricultural buffer in the City of Arroyo Grande.

The project involves literature review as well as review of general plan and development code policies throughout California. The project concludes with a draft document entitled Criteria for Agricultural Buffers in the City of Arroyo Grande which includes agricultural buffer specifications such as plant palette and planting density which will be incorporated by reference into the City of Arroyo Grande Municipal Code.