community-garden lawsuits: NRDC SUES MAYOR GUILIANI AND THE CITY OF NEW YORK (fwd)

rosaphil (
Tue, 4 May 1999 10:25:44 -0400 (EDT)

yet another reason not to buy the perks and resources of office that
guiliani is selling off to finance his senatorial/vice-dictator

ya kan pay the baksheesh, but ya might still not be able to take posession
of the public lands and parks rudy promises ya for it.

nature lovers of nys and of the usa, take heed.

+********** Snail me yer rosehips if you liked this post! ************
*Better Living Thru Better Living!* *

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 03 May 1999 23:03:59 -0400
From: Rachel Treichler <>


Joins With Green Guerrillas, Borough Presidents Golden and Ferrer, 
Senator Sampson, Community Boards and Gardeners 
to Stop May 13 auction of 115 Community Gardens

    New York  (May 4, 1999) - In a [100-page] complaint served today, the
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and a coalition of elected officials,
advocacy organizations, community boards and gardeners charged Mayor Rudolph W.
Giuliani, the City of New York, and various city agencies with violating City
and State law in its rush to sell over 100 community gardens on May 13.  
Failure to conduct environmental and land use review of  the115 community
gardens to be auctioned this month, has prompted NRDC and other environmental
advocacy groups to sue the fore mentioned parties. 

    "The City has absolutely failed to fulfill even the most basic
environmental, land use and public process requirements in its rush to pave over
some of the City's paradise," said Richard Kassel, a senior  attorney at NRDC.
"Hopefully, it's not too late to stop the auction and come up with a better

    New York City is home to over 750 community gardens. 115 of the gardens are
slated for auction to the highest bidder on May 13.   Together, these gardens
cover 13 acres of land, providing places to relax, plant flowers and vegetables,
meet with friends, and receive horticultural education.  Including exhibits, the
500-page complaint alleges that the City failed to comply with City and State
laws that require the completion of an environmental impact statement prior to
any sale of property that is likely to have a significant environmental or
community impact or that is over 10 acres in aggregate size.  NRDC also alleges
that the City violated its own regulations governing procedures for the sale of
City land (governed by the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure or "ULURP") and
that the City sidestepped City Charter provisions that require review,
recommendations and actions by the affected Community Boards, Borough Presidents
and City Council.

    Many of the gardens have been in use for over a decade; the first garden was
established in 1973.   In most cases, the early gardeners found these lots
strewn with rubble, garbage, dead animals, and drug paraphernalia.  In time,
these gardeners—and other community gardeners—converted these lots into green
oases.  These new community gardens often served as an anchor for their
residents who were desperately seeking to revitalize and reclaim their civic
pride and community spirit after years of public and private disinvestment and
urban neglect.

    "This case is really about the future of community-based open space in New
York City, said Richard Kassel. "New York should follow the lead of Boston,
Chicago and other cities that are protecting community gardens from development.
    The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organization
of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting
public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 400,000
members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and
San Francisco. More information on NRDC is available through its website, at