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Days numbered for Compton's urban farm?

February 21, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
It's not exactly what comes to mind when you think of the community of Compton. Right in the middle of this very urban city exists a little slice of the country.

But the fear is growing that this agricultural enclave may be on its way out.

Felipe Angeles and his horse Morro enjoy a late morning trot.

Down the street you'll find some roosters and just a block north, three goats doing what goats usually do.

"You see horses, you see chickens walking around, you see ducks walking around, all that kind of stuff," said Richland Farms resident Derrick Young. "It feels like you're in the country, man. It feels like you're in the country."

But while rural spots like this are fairly common throughout Southern California, Richland Farms' location may strike many people as very uncommon.

All these people living the country life are also living in the shadow of Compton City Hall.

"I love the animals, you know, this is my thing," said Angeles. "I ride every day, my horses. When it's not raining, I ride my horses."

Many of the folks who live here are worried that their rural way of life is changing rapidly. They blame strict new parking laws and zoning changes.

"You've got to have a parking permit," said Young. "If somebody comes over to visit, they've got to park in your driveway or you going to get a ticket or get towed away."

The properties often exceed an acre in size. Richland Farms residents fear that longtime families will eventually sell off their land, and their 10-block agriculturally zoned neighborhood will end up looking like the rest of Compton, with no horses or goats or roosters in sight.

"This should be a protected area, a sanctuary for the people who live here. That's what I believe," said Richland Farms resident T.M. Bryant.

Without that protection, he's afraid that their urban farms will eventually buy the farm.