Tuesday, November 19, 2019

With petition, El Sol Brillante Jr. Garden volunteers hope to protect their green space from demolition next door

[Photos by Steven]

Demolition is expected to commence in the weeks ahead at the long-empty 535 E. 12th St. between Avenue A and Avenue B to make way for affordable housing.

When this happens, volunteers at the El Sol Brillante Jr. Garden next door are hopeful that officials from the Department of Buildings will revise their plans to cover the 30-plus year-old garden with a larger sidewalk shed.

Gardeners now have a petition — titled "Don't Let El Sol Brillante Jr. Community garden be killed" — in circulation ... in hopes of appealing to the DOB to to adjust their requirement for the size of the protective barriers that will surround No. 535.

Here's the background and proposal from the community gardeners:

A long-awaited moderate-income housing project is scheduled to start Dec. 10 adjacent to our garden. We had a site visit on Oct. 28 with the developer, contractor, Parks Dept and GreenThumb. We were told that although Parks and the developer requested a zero to 10’ encroachment into the garden in the form of an overhead protection aka “shed,” the Department of Buildings refused them.

The DOB is demanding a 25’ wide shed, which basically covers the entire width of the garden. That means all the plants underneath would surely die since they won’t get sun or rain for a projected 6-month period of demolition time starting in December 2019.

We propose a compromise of a 10’ wide shed into the garden, which covers only half of its width. We believe this should be possible because the shed in front of the building, i.e. over the sidewalk, will be only 10’ wide.

If that is considered safe for the many more pedestrians using the sidewalk, then that should be safe for the garden, in which public access will be limited during the demolition period. Dept. of Buildings states the 25’ width is required for safety, but the application of their standards is not consistent.

We ask that you support our request to Dept. of Buildings to grant approval for a 10’ wide overhead protection in lieu of a 25’ wide one.

The Parks Dept and the developer, SMJ Developers, would be in agreement with this change. Our intention is not to prevent the development from going forward. Our intention is to protect our garden from certain destruction due to lack of sensitivity to the requirements of plant life.

Find the petition at this link.

When completed, the all-new 535 E. 12th St.'s one-bedroom rentals will be a middle-income rental building with an income restriction at 130 percent AMI.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Affordable housing planned for city-owned buildings at 204 Avenue A and 535 E. 12th St.


noble neolani said...

As a supporter of El Sol Brillante Jr. Garden I encourage every EV Grieve reader to sign this petition. The developer and the Parks Department agree with the members that the proposed 25' wide by 40' deep garden covering shed is unnecessary and will deprive this garden of sun (many plants store winter solar energy to ready for early spring growth) and just as important water from rain and snow. The Dept of Buildings sees this space without a building as an empty lot and not a living environment. Please help us save a garden which took 30 plus years of hard work by its members to create a lush green welcoming place for all.

Anonymous said...

This is a truly loved garden and I hope people sign the petition. I also hope the members know El Sol Sr is ready to do whatever is needed to help . Our dirt is your dirt during this upheaval!

Gojira said...