POLICY UPDATE: Ag Exempt High/Low Tunnels (Hoop Houses) 

POLICY UPDATE: Ag Exempt High/Low Tunnels (Hoop Houses) 

Nevada County Cannabis Alliance 


On Tuesday, November 12th at the BOS Meeting, a public hearing was held on adopting the 2019 Building Code with county specific amendments. Within the agenda item, there was discussion on updates to the Ag Exempt High/Low Tunnels (Hoop House) policy. 

(READ ITEM HERE) Public hearing to consider an ordinance amending Chapter V of the Land Use and Development Code of the County of Nevada, adopting the 2019 California Building Standards, and local amendments thereto

Important notes: 

  • As it stands today, below is the latest requirements for Ag Exempt High/Low Tunnels (Hoop House) policy. Please note, this has not been approved into policy yet.
  • The Next BOS meeting will be held on December 17th @ 9am and we anticipate that the item will be discussed again as per policy. 
    • As always, reach out to your supervisor if you have any feedback before the policy is approved. 
  • The Alliance was present at the meeting on 11.12.19 to advocate for policy that supports the economic development of all farmers. 
      • The distance required between structures was reduced from 10’ to 5’. Big win! 


Sec. L-V 2.4 Section 105.2: Work Exempt From Permit; Building Permits

Please note, this has NOT been approved into policy just yet.

  1. Detached trellis or arbor accessory to single family residential property, provided the projected roof area does not exceed 200 square feet.
  2. Agricultural structures, not intended for habitation, accessory to residential property in zoning districts “AG, AE, RA,FR,TPZ that meet all of the following conditions:
    1. Not a place of employment where agricultural products are processed, treated, or packaged, nor shall it be a place used by the public. High and low tunnel greenhouses may be used by employees only related to cultivation of crops.
    2. Of simple construction using conventional construction methods (concrete, steel frame, masonry and other technologies that generally require engineering are not exempt) or specifically approved manufactured structures
    3. No plumbing, electrical, or mechanical utilities installed.
    4. Structures must meet the following limits:
      1. Pole Barns. _Limited in size to 1,000 square feet maximum. One pole barn per parcel or 20 acres. Open from ground to eave on all sides. Distance to other structures must be equal to its height, minimum of 20 feet. Minimum of 100 feet from property line.
      2. Shade Structures. Cover limited to woven shade fabric.
      3. Animal Husbandry. Limited in size to 400 square feet maximum. One per 5 acres. Single wall construction. Dirt floor or gravel. Distance to other structures minimum of 10 feet. Minimum of 40 feet from property line.
      4. Pump Houses. Limited in size to 100 square feet
      5. Greenhouses. Limited in size to 400 square feet. One structure per parcel or 10 acres. Wood or PVC construction with rigid plastic or fiberglass cover. Dirt or gravel floor.
      6. Storage Containers. Limited in size to 320 square feet. One container per parcel or 5 acres. Container is used for light nonhazardous agricultural storage and shall not be structurally modified or have any electrical, mechanical or plumbing utilities.
      7. High and low tunnel greenhouses meeting the following criterion:
        1. Easily moveable 
        2. Constructed of metal or plastic tubing and covered with agricultural cloth, plastic film, or shade screening.
        3. Exits are in compliance with the most recently adopted editions of the California Building and Fire Codes.
        4. Structures meet vegetation management clearance requirements in accordance with the most recently adopted edition of the California Fire Code and Public Resource Code Section 4291. 
        5. Setbacks and height limitations in accordance with Chapter II of the Nevada County Land Use and Development Code.
        6. Parcels 3 acres or greater in size shall meet the following size and setback standards: 
          1. 3,600 sqft per acre maximum
          2. 35ft in width maximum
          3. One story
          4. 5ft separation between structures minimum 
          5. Clustering of structures is allowed
        7. Parcels less than 3 acres in size shall meet the following size and setback standards:
          1. 3,600sqft maximum 
          2. 35ft in width maximum 
          3. One story
          4. 5ft separation between structures minimum if multiple are proposed
  3. All structures require site plan review and approval and a letter of exemption issued by the Building Dept. and Planning Director.