City Planning Approves Parks’ Acquisition of Community Garden with Community Support

Image credit: GoogleMaps

The City Planning Commission approved the acquisition of 6,000-square-foot community garden and passive recreation lot to place under jurisdiction of the Parks Department. On July 16, 2017, the City Planning Commission issued a favorable report on a joint application filed by the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to acquire private property at 237 Maple Street in the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn. The acquired property would be used for passive recreation and a community garden.

The designated site is a 6,000-square-foot rectangular lot with 60 feet of frontage on Maple Street. The site has been vacant since the demolition of a building on the lot that was damaged by a fire in 1997. In 2013, neighborhood residents removed debris and installed seating, a communal garden and a composting facility. Upon acquisition, Parks would install new fencing and signage, and make minor improvements to the passive open space. The hours of the park would conform to the standard Parks schedule—6 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset.

About half of the site would be licensed, maintained, and used as a GreenThumb community garden. GreenThumb, created in the 1970s, was a response to the city’s financial crisis at the time. Currently, GreenThumb provides programming and material support to over 500 community gardens throughout the City.

On April 25, 2017, Brooklyn Community Board 9 voted 25-0 to approve the application. On May 25, 2017, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams agreed with the Community Board and recommended approval of the application.

In its report, the Commission found the application to be appropriate. The Commission noted that the Prospet-Lefferts Gardens neighborhood is underserved in terms of open space per capita according to Parks. Formalizing the garden and recreation area was found to be “appropriate given the surrounding land use context of single-family detached houses and low-rise apartment buildings.”

CPC: Maple Street Open Space and Garden, Brooklyn (C 170316 PCK) (July 26, 2017).

By: Jonathon Sizemore (Jonathon is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2016).

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