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How to "Birth" a Community Garden Through Politics.

  • Subject: [cg] How to "Birth" a Community Garden Through Politics.
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2006 23:31:43 EDT

This is a prime example of what I mean when I say, "community gardening  is
50% gardening and 100% politics."  In NYC,  a city that is fighting  over
gardens that are on developable land in the South Bronx, a new community
will be created  three blocks west of  Manhattan's  midtown business district.
This letter came out of a NYC Community Board Land Use  Committee that has
one former (the board's vice chair)  and one currently  active community
gardener (me) as active, voting members.  The horse trading that made this
happen  took place over years.
The attached letter will be voted upon at tomorrow's Manhattan Community
Board 4 meeting, and will be,  in all likelihood passed. It is primarily a
letter of support for a mixed used and affordable housing development in the
Clinton Urban Renewal Area in Hell's Kitchen. It is, admittedly, a dense  and
boring  zoning letter to a municipality's Dept of Housing Preservation  and
Development.  But among the projected work that is to be done, this  letter
create, because of zoning and air rights considerations, a 5,000  square foot
community garden.
This is an example of what can possibly be done when community gardeners
productively invest their valuable free time in zoning and land use matters.
Adam Honigman
Hell's Kitchen, NYC
April ___, 2006
Hon. Shaun Donovan
NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development
100 Gold  Street
New York,  NY  10038
Re:  530-548 West 53rd  Street and 533-541 West 52nd Street  (portion of
Clinton Urban Renewal Area Site  7)
Dear Commissioner Donovan:
Manhattan Community Board No. 4 writes to  express its preliminary,
conceptual support for the mixed use and affordable  housing development
proposal by
Clinton Housing Development Company and Clinton  Housing Association for the
undeveloped portion of Site 7 in the Clinton Urban  Renewal Area (CURA), at
530-548  West 53rd Street and 533-541 West 52nd  Street.
The developers presented their written proposal to the community at the
April 3, 2006 meeting of the Boardbs Clinton/Hellbs Kitchen Land Use
CHDC and CHA propose to build two separate buildings of 100 residential
units each, for a total project of 200 units of affordable housing.  The
will share a residential  entrance on West 52nd  Street.  The residential
units in the 53rd Street building will be  built on top of an
industrial/commercial base that will incorporate LeNoble  Lumber, Cybert Tire,
Nakanami Carpentry
and studios for artists currently at  500 West 52nd  Street.  The 52nd
Street frontage will include a retail store for  current site tenant McKinney
Welding.  This will allow the relocation and consolidation of CURA commercial
industrial tenants to make way for other affordable housing projects in the
The lot currently occupied by 548 West 53rd Street will be  combined with the
planned community garden at 550 West 53rd Street to create a  5000 square
foot community garden.
The developers propose to use the Citybs New Housing  Opportunities Program
(New HOP) or another similar program to develop a mix of  studios, one, two
three-bedroom units for individuals and families earning  between 80% and
165% of Area Median Income (AMI).  Those limits would serve individuals who
between $35,200 and $59,400 per year and families of four that earn between
$50,240 and $103,620 per year, a population that is underserved by current
development practices in our district.  This would provide much-needed
affordable housing in an  area where development pressures are making it
increasingly difficult for  middle-income families to remain in the community.
Community Board 4  has a long-time commitment to creating permanent affordable
housing for low- and  middle-income families who live in our community, and
the public service  workers who serve our community as policemen,
firefighters, teachers,  librarians, nurses and the like.
The site is designated for residential use in the Third Amended Urban
Renewal Plan for the CURA, and the proposal to create additional affordable
is consistent with the Plan and the communitybs vision for the  CURA.
The proposal outlines the arrangements to be made for the sitebs existing
CHDC is a non-profit housing organization that has been active in the  area
with recent projects such as the Flats/Old School and 501-505 West 51st
Street.  CHA is the oldest affordable housing developer in the Clinton
Neighborhood.  Both developers have  developed good working relationships with
the Board,
and have demonstrated a  commitment to working with the community in
developing their plans.  We would be pleased to work with them on  this
If the project moves forward, UDAAP and ULURP applications will be  required,
with ample opportunity for public consideration of the proposal in  greater
At this point, we are pleased to support the proposal in concept, and to
encourage HPD to begin discussions with CHDC and CHA about this  project.
Cc:       Electeds
All tenants

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