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Garden permits for City-owned vacant lots


The City of Rochester supports transforming vacant lots into bountiful community gardens. Whether you are an inexperienced gardener or a true green thumb, the City has a selection of free resources to help you transform a vacant lot into a beautiful garden. 

The City requires all interested applicants, including past, new, or potential applicants, to attend an orientation. Orientation will cover changes to the permit document, how the permit guidelines apply to garden and landscape features, and gardening events during the 2024 growing season. Attendance is mandatory.

Email Diane Powell or call 585-428-6807 to set up an appointment.

Garden permit application - 1 year

5-year garden permits for organizations that have completed 3 growing seasons on a City-owned vacant lot


Selecting a City Vacant Lot

Finding a lot has been made much easier with the City’s GIS map applications showing what land is available to pull a permit for. 

See instructions

Water Credit Program

The City will apply a credit to the water account of a neighbor who supplies water to a community garden. 

Contact the Water Bureau

Compost and mulch delivery

The City can provide limited free delivery of compost and mulch for use in flower beds or around tree (non-food grade). All deliveries must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance and are subject to availability.

Request a delivery

  • Flower City Flourishing Garden Contest 2024 
    • The garden contest for 2024 is on, and we want to see what you do! 
    • Judging will take place between July 22nd through 26th
    • Only community gardens will be judged. Residential, business, and professionally designed or maintained gardens will not be considered.
    • If you have a permit for a city-owned lot or right-of-way or oversee a pantry or community garden on private land, you are eligible to register.
    • Registration for the contest will close at 5 pm on Thursday, July 18th. 
    • Download and complete the application. Mailed to Garden Permits, City Hall, Rm 223B, 30 Church St, Rochester, NY 14614 or email Diane Powell
    • Winners will be announced at the Garden Permit Reception on Wednesday, September 18th in the City Hall Atrium. All are welcome to attend. 

More resources