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Redlands Community Garden Suggestion - Oasis Update

  • Subject: [cg] Redlands Community Garden Suggestion - Oasis Update
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 08:41:36 EST


Community Gardening is really 50% gardening and 100% political activity in
your areas to sustain them by building neighbhorhood support and acceptance by
elected and city planning officials. Like soil amending and composting, this
second process takes  care and effort over a considerable period of time.

Community gardeners "find" their garden sites on odd pieces of left-over,
disused, abandoned land which municipalities have either, "benignly
or were taken over by neighborhood residents when they weren't looking.  When
planner downtown, or a developer decides there is a "higher and better use,"
for the land, the best way that gardeners have a real shot at saving their
gardens, outside of last-minute rallies and marches, chaining themselves to
gates, letter writing campaigns, media press-conferences etc, is to be active
in neighborhood politics and land use procedures as participants.

This means your garden involvement is also focused beyond your garden gates -
building alliances with advocates for affordable housing, schools, food
security/soup kitchen groups, local churches and being involved on a grass
basis with local electoral politics.

The idea is that gardeners are not merely applicants, but sit on the boards
that hear land use applications.  Money gets you a place at the table, but
active involvement in the process is a more time-consuming route, attainable
most community garden groups that want to put in the time and effort over

Creating and preserving permanent community gardens in developing urban
environments, in the face of development pressures requires active
attention to process and a real understanding of  the Land Use Process in your

This is a letter to NYC Planning that passed in the December 2004 Manhattan
Community Board 4 meeting, it is the fruit of a great deal of work, over a
period of time.

Note: There have  been community gardener members of Manhattan's  Community
Board 4 for over 10 years.
A former Oasis Garden Member. Kathryn Grey was CB4 chair during the late
nineties and also chaired the Clinton Land Use and Zoning Committee for
years. There have been  Clinton Community Garden members on Manhattan
Board 4 for close to 15 years.  By horse trading, we are able to get what we
need for our gardens.

 And we choose Land Use as one of our committees, using the other committees
as places to build up constituencies of support for our gardens while working
to make our neighborhoods better.

We get appointed to the board through support of our local city
councilperson, activity in our local block associations, police precinct
councils and by
bringing people to the polls on election day.  Nothing is for free - and you
either pay out of your pocket or in time and work for access to a
Land Use process.

Adam Honigman

Clinton/Hell's Kitchen Land Use Committee               Agenda Item No. 14

December 2, 2004

Hon. Amanda M. Burden, AICP
City Planning Commission
22 Reade Street
New York, NY  10007

Re:  Clinton Green Mixed Use Development - 51st to 53rd Streets, West of
Tenth Avenue - ULURP Applications No. 050050 ZMM, 050051 ZRM, 050052 ZSM,
ZSM, 005054 ZSM and 005055 HAM - Revised Open Space Plan

Dear Chair Burden:

Our letter to you dated October 18, 2004 raised certain concerns about the
open space and plans for the Clinton Green project, and indicated that
on the developer's revised landscaping plan would be forthcoming.

The developer, The Dermot Company, presented the revised plan to the Board's
Clinton/Hell's Kitchen Land Use Committee at its meeting on November 10, 2004.
 Representatives of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and
Development (HPD) and the Oasis Community Garden were present at the meeting.

The revised plan for the Clinton Green open space adjacent to the Oasis
garden is a dramatic improvement over the previous plan, and Board's concerns
this regard have been satisfied:  broad steps and a ramp will invite visitors
into a raised gravel seating area from 52nd Street.  The area will also be
accessible by steps from the arcade.  Dermot will provide, and be responsible
maintaining, moveable seating under a bosc of maple trees.  The area will be
secured at night by gates blocking access to the open space and to the arcade.
This should provide an attractive open space amenity for the buildings'
residents as well as the community at large.  The Board is grateful to Dermot
its responsiveness to the community's concerns in this regard.

The revised plan adds approximately 1,000 square feet along the western
boundary of the exisiting Oasis Community Garden to compensate for:

' the patio area on the garden's northern boundary that will be taken by the
Clinton Green project (approximately 450 square feet),
' the rear yard to 777 Tenth Avenue that was deeded to Clinton Housing
Development Company in 2002 (approximately 450 square feet), and
' a sliver that is proposed to be taken at the northwest corner of the garden
so that the Clinton Green arcade can have an unrestricted southern boundary
(approximately 100 square feet).

Each of these areas will be surveyed by Dermot's licensed surveyor under
HPD's supervision to determine the precise number of square feet that are to
added in compensation, and the results will be transmitted to this Board and
the Oasis gardeners.

HPD has determined that this approach will satisfy the requirements of the
2002 community garden settlement agreement, and the gardeners are in

Discussions are underway with the Trust for Public Land, HPD and the
gardeners concerning the future ownership and operation of the Oasis garden.
We are
confident that a satisfactory agreement will be reached in the near future.

Our October letter contained our resolution recommending approval of the
captioned land use applications, subject to three conditions.  We are pleased
advise you that the second condition  has been satisfied, and that the third
condition  is well on its way to being satisfied.



Cc:     (copy cc list from October letter)

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