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Avalon's Offer to the Gardeners

  • Subject: [cg] Avalon's Offer to the Gardeners
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2005 09:05:28 EST


I was forwarded this by a one of the designated representatives of the Liz 
Christy garden listed below.  Please read it carefully. It is an extraordinary, 
almost courtly letter from a developer. 

I think we need to bring the Liz Christy gardeners to the table, again, as 
soon as possible. There are all kinds of facilitators available for this kind of 
meeting. Jane Weissman, from the GG board  and the Battery  Conservancy board 
is a much older and wiser head than most of us, including me. 

Let's not squander this opportunity to have both housing, albeit market rate, 
and an adjacent, flourishing garden. Housing and gardens has happened in 
Brooklyn, Hell's Kitchen and throughout the city. Let's see if we can't come to a 
solution here. 

I've rarely seen a developer make an offer like this.  The discussions have 
to proceed without a Green Guerillas obstructive lawsuit, again. )I have the 
document in attachment form for anyone who wants it. )

In solidarity, and love, 
Adam Honigman


TO:     Elizabeth DeGaetano, Penny Jones, Don Loggins (Designated 
Representatives of the Liz Christy Garden)

FROM:   Robert Paley (AvalonBay Communities, Inc.)

COPY TO:    Jack Linn (NYC Parks), Edie Stone (NYC Parks), Juan Barahona, 
(HPD), Bill Logan (Urban Arborists), Andrew Forsberg (AvB), Bill Fellenberg (AvB)

DATE:       January 4, 2004

Pursuant to our discussions yesterday, I am submitting the outline below to 
clarify the latest details of the protection plan for Liz Christy Garden.  The 
points so noted in underscored italics are details we discussed which 
supplement the original plan (in regular face) approved by the City of New York in the 
Land Disposition Agreement regarding the Cooper Square Urban Renewal Project. 
In order to implement the plan and ensure that impacts on the garden are 
minimized and to coordinate certain design elements, we anticipate meeting with 
you on a regular basis and expect that you in turn will report back to the 
gardeners on an ongoing basis.

Garden Protection Plan

Note:  To reduce impact on the garden, AvalonBay has modified the design of 
the building so that the building sets  back along the narrow (eastern) portion 
of the garden by 10 feet.  This setback, 95 feet long, comprises 41% of the 
length of the property line with the garden, thus minimizing any impacts on a 
substantial portion of the garden which includes the Dawn Redwood.

1.  Design of building to be constructed in Block 456 adjacent to the Liz 
Christy Garden

Developer will incorporate an element at the property line between the garden 
and the new development on Block 456 that can accommodate plant material such 
as ivy. The developer will provide the garden with a trellis or similar 
architectural element on garden property next to the new building with design and 
specifications to be worked out with garden representatives.

Electric power (to be submetered) will be provided from the new building to 
the Liz Christy Garden.  There will be a water supply from the new building for 
use by the garden. Issues regarding location of water and other utilities and 
other design matters that may arise will be coordinated between the developer 
and gardeners on a regular basis.

2.  Protection of the garden during construction of new building on Block 456 

Developer will use all reasonable efforts to minimize impacts on the garden 
of demolition and construction performed on Block 456.  Developer will advise a 
representative of the garden of scheduled demolition and construction 
activities and will consult with gardeners to coordinate the following activities:

- Removal or pruning by Liz Christy gardeners (at gardeners expense) of 
plants and structures attached to the building and temporary relocation by 
gardeners of turtles and fish from the pond; developer initially advised gardeners 
last October that demolition would commence January 1st; however, given the need 
for additional discussions as requested by Parks Department and gardeners, 
developer will commence demolition no earlier than February 7th in order to allow 
gardeners, with the assistance of Parks Department, additional time to remove 
affected plants. 
- Provision by developer of a temporary shed for storing garden tools; 
developer will purchase a new shed in consultation with the gardeners. 
- Protective barriers to be installed adjacent to and above the garden during 
demolition and construction; rather than installing a 20-foot sidewalk 
scaffolding the entire length of the garden for both the demolition and construction 
periods as would typically be required, developer will seek approval from 
City Department of Buildings to a) construct 10-foot shed for 3 months, 
commencing with the issuance of all requisite permits from NYC agencies, including the 
Parks Department and b) during construction, netting will be put up in lieu of 
solid bridging to allow sunlight and water to reach garden plants, subject to 
access restrictions described below.
- Normal and customary shoring and other protective activities required for 
excavation; temporary bracing of the soil below the garden is necessary in 
order to excavate the new basement.  Where the adjacent site is at grade with no 
structures, it is normal and customary to install the excavation support system 
within the adjacent property to allow for construction of the new basement 
wall up to the property line.  The intent of the excavation support system is to 
prevent a collapse of the adjacent garden into the excavation.  For this type 
of excavation, soldier piles and lagging are typically used to support the 
excavation, with one or two levels of tiebacks.  The soldier piles are typically 
spaced 8 to 10 feet on center.  Once the basement levels are constructed, the 
space between the building and support of the excavation system is 
backfilled, the tiebacks detensioned, the soldiers piles cut off 5 feet below the ground 
surface and the ground surface restored.  All work will be performed from the 
inside of the excavation but will require temporary encroachment 3 feet into 
the western portion of the garden (there will be no encroachment for shoring 
on the eastern portion of the garden).

- The designation of limited restricted periods for access to the garden to 
ensure safety during the course of demolition and construction. Gardeners will 
have access to the garden on Sundays and one evening per week after 6 PM. 
Safety rules and waivers will be worked on together.

Items damaged by the construction and demolition performed on Block 456 will 
be replaced or repaired by developer. Schedule of plants for removal or 
replacement will be vetted by gardeners.

Developer and gardeners will provide a contact person(s) and telephone number 
in the event of an emergency and for the purpose of general coordination. 
Developer and gardeners will meet regularly and on as-needed frequency to 
facilitate coordination.  Developer has retained a certified arborist (Bill Logan of 
Urban Arborists) to facilitate coordination with gardeners.  

3.  Additional issues raised by gardeners after initial completion of the 
garden Protection Plan:

To preserve privacy for gardeners, the bottom sill of any window on the South 
side of the new building that is adjacent to the garden will be no lower than 
6 feet above grade at the garden. 

Only residents of the building who become gardeners at Liz Christy and 
AvalonBay maintenance staff will be accorded access to the garden via the easement, 
and on such terms that will be mutually acceptable to Christy Garden and the 

Developer will help renovate the Rock n Rose area by:
- Removing surface structures and debris
- Remove asphalt
- Add topsoil and grade to sidewalk elevation
- Install wooden tool shed
- Keep tagged stones and slate for future garden usage
- Install new chain link fence or mutually agreeable alternative.

Developer will review NYC Parks protection plan for the Blue Atlas Cedar and 
European Mountain Ash and develop appropriate approaches to protection in 
consultation with gardeners.

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

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