Ypsilanti Zoning Ordinance Permitting of passive solar structure (hoophouse, greenhouse, etc.)

Land Use and Planning, Land Use Regulation
Policy type

The City of Ypsilanti amended their zoning ordinance to permit passive solar structures, such as hoophouses or greenhouses, as an accessory use in most zoning districts and neighborhoods. In park districts, these structures are permitted as a principal use. Structures must meet the specified lot coverage dimensions for accessory structures within each district. Residents in single-family residential districts can still establish a structure that is 200 feet or less if they have already exceeded the maximum amount of square footage for existing detached accessory structures on their lot.

Relationship to food access, food insecurity, or local food economies

Urban agriculture can increase access to healthy and locally grown foods and may support local economic development (Santo et al. 2016). Passive solar structures, such as hoophouses and greenhouses, assist with urban agriculture operations in colder climates by extending the growing season (Collier & Rabaut 2011). By permitting these structures, Ypsilanti’s zoning ordinance allows communities with access to gardens to potentially supplement their diets with healthy and culturally appropriate foods.

Scale of Governance
Michigan Good Food Charter Priority

Priority 1 – Increase healthy food access & consumption, Priority 6 – Use policy & planning to increase food access


Collier, A. and Rabaut, C. (2011). Good Food Access: Michigan Good Food Work Group Report No. 2 of 5. East Lansing, MI: C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University. Retrieved on September 19, 2016 from LINK.

Santo, R., Palmer, A., & Kim, B. (2016). Vacant Lots to Vibrant Plots: A Review of the Benefits and Limitations of Urban Agriculture. John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future: Baltimore, MD. Retrieved on October 7, 2016 from LINK.