City provides alternative sites for Bronx Gardeners

Settlement came after gardeners filed Article 78 petition. As reported in the November issue of CityLand, the City Council’s October 13, 2004 approval of the Courtlandt Avenue Apartments, a 167-unit, affordable housing development slated for Melrose Commons, would result in the demolition of several Bronx community gardens. The development site, comprising 16 lots, occupies most of the block between East 158th and East 159th Streets, and Park and Courtlandt Avenues.

On November 23, 2004, gardeners active in three Bronx Green Thumb Gardens filed a petition to stop the City’s demolition of the gardens and to declare the Planning Commission’s approval of the development unlawful. On November 24th, a temporary restraining order was granted and negotiations followed.

A settlement was filed with the court on December 2, 2004, in which the City offered three alternative permanent sites to the gardeners in exchange for their agreement to vacate their existing gardens by no later than 6:00 p.m. on December 5, 2004. An alternative site at 364- 366 East 158th Street would replace the Sunshine Garden; a site at 420- 422 East 158th Street would replace the Family Group Garden; and 427 East 157th Street would replace the Latinos Unidos Garden. If the gardeners failed to vacate the existing gardens by December 7, 2004 at 7:00 a.m., the offer would be void.

The Urban Justice Center reported to CityLand that the Gardeners had complied and vacated each of the three sites. For the Council’s and the Planning Commission’s consideration, see 1 CityLand 19 (November 15, 2004).

South Bronx Community Gardens, Inc. v. City of New York, No. 403916/04 (Bransten, J.)(Dec. 2, 2004)(Ray Brescia, Serge A. Martinez, Urban Justice Center, for Gardens; Michael A. Cardozo, Daniel Greene, Chris Reo, for NYC).

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