The Council's Regulatory Energy and Environment passed the compost ordinance I authored this afternoon unanimously (with one abstention). You can read the full text of the ordinance, the staff report, a helpful Powerpoint presentation, and see some sample site plans.
The purpose of these changes is to increase the amount of composting that folks can do in the city and increase the flexibility of composting, while providing additional authorities to our staff to respond to anyone who is composting incorrectly and creating a nuisance. So the maximum sizes of backyard composting sites will increase, and the maximum size at community gardens will increase even more. The compost areas can be in whatever shapes work for composters (rather than the old 5'x5'x5' bins that were required by ordinance). But composters must now cover their compost materials with an odor-reducing layer of dry leaves or wood chips, and if our staff find that folks are composting improperly we can require them to take an educational course on composting correctly.
These changes came from recommendations from community gardens and urban farmers, and were vetted by City, County, and Pollution Control Agency staff. Two folks stand out for special thanks: Patrick Hanlon from Environmental Management, who did a great job shepherding this through committee today, and Russ Henry, a small business person who owns Giving Tree Gardens and serves on the Minneapolis Food Council and Environmental Advisory Committee.
I hope and expect that these amendments will pass the full Council on March 8.