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New City Council Community Garden Intro #206

  • Subject: [cg] New City Council Community Garden Intro #206
  • From: "Honigman, Adam" <Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com>
  • Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 18:58:08 -0400


This is the NYC Council community Garden bill that was Introduced on
Tuesday May 21, 2002. It is, in my opinion the latest and best hope for
community gardening in the City of New York, allowing for community gardens
and communities ( not always, alas, the same thing) to have an orderly land
and open space process in dealing with community gardens. 

Unlike Mayor Bloomberg's position ( which would have the gardens divvyed up
between NYC Housing Preservation and Development & Land Trusts, a solution
that would save some gardens but not as many as the Intro would AND would
not have a process in place by which community gardens could be created in
the future) Intro 206 presents a transparent process.

The cavils that have been raised are:

1) Community gardens should be able to choose what form of land trust they
will be organized under ( i.e., Green Thumb Foundation, Trust for Public
Land or NY Restoration Trust.)

Answer: In a perfect world, choice would be possible, but this bill only
deals with transfer to Parks or a foundation allied with Parks. 

2) They are uncomfortable with having to be accountable to larger
organizations because they do not want to be open to the general public
longer than a few hours on weekends, feeling that "being green" is enough
service to the community.

Answer: The Clinton Community Garden is open 365 days a year by the over
3,000 keys that we have distributed in the neighborhood. And on weekends, we
lock the garden gates are chained open for several hours. As long as there
is a keyholder inside the garden any passer-by who wants in can get in,

3) This guy from the NY Enviromental Justice Group to have a "sunset clause"
on the NYC Uniform Land Use Review Process, to stay garden destruction from
approved ULURP applications, an interesting idea. 

Answer: This is a non-starter and is irrelevant to the legislation at hand.
To change the NYC Uniform Land Use Review Process ( "ULURP") it would take a
NYC Charter revision. Changing the NYC Charter is like changing the US
Consititution. The last major charter revision which gave NYC elected
officials Term Limits cost Millionare Ronald Lauder about $10,000,000. No
gardener has $10,000,000 or more to sell this idea to the electorate, in my

I am grateful that Mayor Bloomberg even considers community gardens worth
saving in part. This is a major step in evolution from Mayor Giuliani, but
the NYC Council alternative, even with all of it's limitiations, has it beat
in the shade.

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman

I have made it available to you via e-mail text, 

hyperlink  http://www.council.nyc.ny.us/pdf_files/bills/int0206-2002.htm
and Word attachment: 

Int. No. 206
By Council Members Serrano, Sanders, Addabbo, Rivera Jackson and Davis

A Local Law to amend the Administrative Code of the City of New York, in
relation to the establishment and maintenance of GreenThumb Community
Be it enacted by the Council as follows 
Section 1.  Legislative declaration.  The Council hereby finds and declares
that community gardeners make a significant contribution to the civic and
cultural life of cities all across America, are encouraged and supported by
government entities and create gathering places that bring communities
together across boundaries of age and ethnicity. 
The City of New York (hereinafter referred to as the "City") has less than
half the public parkland per capita of most American cities and most
community gardens tend to be in neighborhoods with the least amount of
public parkland. 
The City has one of the lowest open space standards for its citizens of any
metropolitan area in the country (only 2.5 acres per 1000 residents).
Thirty-three of New York City's 59 Community Planning Districts, or 56%, do
not meet even this meager open space standard, and 49% of the Districts have
less than 1.5 acres of open space per 1000 residents and are communities of
color where the non-white and Hispanic population exceeds 65%. 
The GreenThumb Community Gardens (hereinafter "GreenThumb Gardens") add
value to our City by providing services such as child-care, opportunities
for healthful physical activity, environmental education, cultural
activities and increasing adjacent real estate values.   In many of our
City's communities it costs a family of five people $15 in transportation
fees just to get to and from a green public space. 
The GreenThumb Gardens support community policing efforts by putting eyes on
the street, by enabling community improvement opportunities for people who
feel alienated from civic life and by working with young people. 
A survey of GreenThumb Gardeners by State Senator John Sampson's office in
1997 found that 57% of the respondents used the gardens for nature education
for young and older citizens, and 53% composted or recycled in the gardens.
The City's GreenThumb Gardens provide healthful food for people at the
bottom of the economic ladder while demonstrating to both young and old
where food comes from. 
The City has never created a comprehensive planning document that includes
GreenThumb Gardens as part of a neighborhood or citywide infrastructure yet
affordable housing and accessible green open spaces like GreenThumb Gardens
work together to improve the overall quality of life in a neighborhood.
These verdant spaces provide oases of peace and calm for all in a City that
is under-served in the areas of gardening, horticulture, recreational
opportunities and natural areas.       
Finally, the estimated $53 million per year in sweat equity and
contributions of their own funds to pay for GreenThumb Garden expenses made
by garden volunteers should not be overlooked. 
The City Council, therefore, seeks to set up a fair and equitable system for
allowing communities to create new GreenThumb Gardens and to formally apply
for the preservation of GreenThumb Gardens in their neighborhoods. 
2. Chapter one of Title 18 of the Administrative Code of the City of New
York is hereby amended by the addition of a new section 18-132 to read as
 18-132 GreenThumb Community Gardens. 
a. Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall
have the following meanings: 
		1. "GreenThumb Community Garden" or "GreenThumb Garden" is a
plot or plots of City-owned land, registered with GreenThumb and designed,
built and maintained by a Garden Group with technical assistance from
GreenThumb, to provide open space, community programming and/or food, and to
beautify neighborhoods.
	2.	"Community Garden Group" or "Garden Group" is a volunteer
group of gardeners and/or other concerned citizens, which, pursuant to an
agreement with the City, establishes and maintains a GreenThumb Community
	3.	"GreenThumb Garden Trust" or "GreenThumb" shall be a
non-profit corporation or local development corporation that offers
technical and material assistance to Community Garden Groups that enter
management agreements with it, and holds title in perpetuity to those
GreenThumb Gardens that qualify for permanent garden status, expressly for
the protection of such spaces for public use. 
	4.	"Management Agreement" shall be a two-year, renewable and
revocable agreement between GreenThumb and a Garden Group outlining the
maintenance and management responsibilities that the Garden Group must
fulfill to operate a GreenThumb Garden, and the material assistance
GreenThumb will provide to the Garden Group in return. 
	5.	"Department of Parks and Recreation" or "Parks" shall be the
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 
b. Designation. Any GreenThumb Garden created pursuant to this local law,
shall be designated and labeled as a "GreenThumb Community Garden" in City
land use records, including but not limited to the Integrated Property
Information System (IPIS) and City tax maps, but not including the City
Zoning Resolution. 
c. Management Agreements. All GreenThumb Gardens shall be transferred to the
Department of Parks and Recreation, to be administered by the GreenThumb
Garden Trust. The GreenThumb Garden Trust shall enter a management agreement
with the Department of Parks and Recreation ("Parks") for the management of
all GreenThumb Gardens, and shall establish sub-management agreements
("Management Agreements") with each GreenThumb Garden. Where a GreenThumb
Garden shall have been registered prior to the effective date of this local
law, a Management Agreement shall be signed between GreenThumb and the
Garden Group within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this local
		d. Permanent Garden Status. 
		1. GreenThumb shall establish, with the approval of the City
		Commission, a procedure through which registered Garden
Groups shall have the opportunity to apply via the Uniform Land Use Review
Procedure (ULURP), Section 197-c of the New York City Charter, for permanent
garden status through transfer of title of such property to the GreenThumb
Garden Trust, under the jurisdiction of the City Department of Parks and
Recreation. Where an application for conveyance of the property title to the
GreenThumb Garden Trust is approved pursuant to a resolution adopted by the
City Council, the City shall convey such title to the GreenThumb Garden
Trust for the sum of one dollar ($1.00). 
		2. Should a GreenThumb Garden not be approved for permanent
garden statusand such property has not been requested for development by a
City agency or private developer, the Garden Group may continue to manage
the land for successive two-year terms and may reapply for permanent garden
status after a period of two (2) years from the date of such denial. 
		3. Should a GreenThumb Garden be approved for permanent
garden status the property shall be transferred to the GreenThumb Garden
Trust to be managed by the Garden Group in accordance with such rules as
shall be established by the GreenThumb Garden Trust. The City Council
resolution approving such permanent garden status shall be a recordable
instrument that shall be recorded with the deed to such real property. The
Department of Parks and Recreation shall retain a right of reverter so that
if at any time Parks and the GreenThumb Garden Trust determine that the
Garden Group is not managing the GreenThumb Garden in accordance with the
established management rules, the property shall revert to Parks.
e. Development of GreenThumb Garden. If any City-owned property containing a
registered GreenThumb Garden is requested by any City agency or private
developer for development or for any use other than as a GreenThumb Garden,
such action must be approved through a full review in accordance with the
Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), Section 197-c of the New York
City Charter. The property so requested for development must be identified
as a GreenThumb Garden in all plans, documents, meetings and hearings
related to such development proposal.
f. Alternative GreenThumb Garden Site. If, after completion of ULURP, the
GreenThumb Garden property is approved for development or some use other
than as a GreenThumb Garden, the Department of City Planning shall work with
the Garden Group to identify a nearby alternative site of at least the same
size for a replacement GreenThumb Garden or shall seek to incorporate space
for a replacement GreenThumb Garden within the proposed development before
the original GreenThumb Garden property is altered in any way or title for
such property is conveyed. The provisions of this local law relating to
Management Agreements and the opportunity for permanent garden status shall
apply to such replacement GreenThumb Garden. 
	g.	New GreenThumb Gardens. A minimum of five neighborhood
residents may apply to the City on such forms as GreenThumb shall proscribe,
to manage a City-owned vacant lot, or several such adjacent lots, as a new
GreenThumb Garden for a term of two years, subject to review of any existing
development plans for the property. Applicants must have a letter of support
from the local Community Board for the area in which the GreenThumb Garden
will be located.   Management Agreements for new GreenThumb Gardens may be
cancelled for non-compliance with the GreenThumb rules of operation. After
such initial two-year management term, the Garden Group shall have the
opportunity to propose the GreenThumb Garden for permanent garden status
under the same mechanism as provided for existing gardens in Section (d).
Should a Garden Group not wish to apply for permanent status, it may
continue to renew its Management Agreement for additional two-year terms.
The City may cancel any GreenThumb Garden Management Agreement upon ninety
(90) days' notice should there be a development or other proposal for such
GreenThumb Garden property where such disposition has been reviewed and
approved through ULURP. 
3. Severability. If any provision of this local law or application thereof
is adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such
judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof, and
the remainder of this local law, and the application thereof to other
persons or circumstances shall not be affected by such holding and shall
remain in full force and effect. 
4. This local law shall take effect immediately.

 <<NYC Intro #206 ( Community Gardens).doc>> 

Attachment: NYC Intro #206 ( Community Gardens).doc
Description: MS-Word document

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