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Re: zoning/permits for community gardens

  • Subject: Re: [cg] zoning/permits for community gardens
  • From: "Maria B. Pellerano" <maria@rachel.org>
  • Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 06:34:57 -0400

Hi all,
Our community garden is on a residential piece of property and the city did not rezone it to allow the garden.  It is on city-owned property and they gave us a license to garden in it and consider it a park.  That way it is governed as a park and falls under their park insurance liability policies -- in other words we do not pay for insurance the city does.  We follow park rules (only open dawn to dusk, no parties without a permit, no alcohol ever, etc.)  It also gives the police the right to go into the garden if they see people violating these rules.
We also have community gardens on private property and the city does not seem to care about that at all.
Suydam Street Community Garden
New Brunswick, N.J.
Maria Pellerano, Associate Director
Environmental Research Foundation
Rachel's Environment & Health News
P.O. Box 160, New Brunswick, NJ  08903-0160
Phone: (732) 828-9995; Fax: (732) 791-4603
E-mail: maria@rachel.org; Web site: http://www.rachel.org/
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2004 9:53 PM
Subject: Re: [cg] zoning/permits for community gardens

Dear Mr. Stanley,

Zoning is a political way to balance the various forms of land use in an area.  Because it is legal, it is based of precedent and the wheels go very slowly, because a mistake made in zoning can make alot of people unhappy for a long time.  And when you sit on a zoning committee, you really don't want to make people unhappy for a long time.

The whole Israel /Palestine conflict  has been described as an exacerbated real estate/land use problem.  So understand why your guys don't want to think out of the box.

Please go to the ACGA website, and read all about community gardens.  American Community Gardening Association .  There will be enough examples of how these are run to show your zoning board.  Explain that it will be a kind of public space as well as a way for neighbhorhood volunteers to get together to raise food for the hungry in your area.  Talk to your local food pantries, soup kitchen folks, as well as senior citizen organizations that want access to fresh veggies and maybe even flowers during the season.

Remember - zoning is political.  Everybody in your church is represented by several local elected representatives. With letters, envelopes and stamps, you can let them know how important having this community garden is - and plan to make about three mailings over the course of a month. Tell them that it will 1) beautify the neighborhood, 2) feed the hungry, 3) appreciate their help, and would appreciate being copied on the letter they will be writing to the zoning board/permitting agency to show to other church members/registered voters. 4) Let you know the name of their "scheduler, " so you can invite them to the grand opening of the garden, and to arrange for photo opportunities.

It is a lot of work to get folks to think outside of the box. However, when you talk nice, and twist arms ( in a nice kind of way, of course) legislators and officials generally get to understand what is in their best interest.

Adam Honigman
Clinton Community Garden 

Subj: [cg] zoning/permits for community gardens
Date: 7/20/04 5:07:16 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: markstanley@comcast.net
To: community_garden@mallorn.com
Sent from the Internet

I live in a small town in the foothills of Northern California.  Our church wants to create a community garden on property that is zoned residential.  Does anyone have any information on zoning practices for community gardens?  Our planning department says it has to be on property zoned agricultural. (There is a great deal of agricultural land in the county.)


Thank you,

Robin Stanley

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