Archive for the ‘City of Dallas’ Category

City Plan Commission Public Hearing on Community Gardens – 12/02/10

The recommendation of the Zoning Ordinance Committee is being forwarded to the City Plan Commission on Thursday for consideration.  It would be great to have a few representative of the community gardening community present at the public hearing.  The public hearing begins at 1:30.  It is a reasonably short agenda and I would anticipate the item would come up shortly after 2:00 but there is no guarantee.

The agenda and docket material can be found at:

http://www.dallascityhall.com/meetings/plan_commission/CPC_agenda_120210.pdf

The community garden code amendment is case # DCA-090-003.

Thanks for your patience and input.

David

David Cossum

Assistant Director, Development Services

214-670-4216

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Open Letter to the Mayor and Councilmembers in Response to Option 6

Mayor Leppert & Honorable Council Members:

Yesterday’s decision by the Environmental Quality and Transportation Committee to move forward on Option 6 for Community Gardens on vacant property was disappointing but not surprising.

It was clear that the members of the committee were ready to move forward with some kind of plan, but still obvious that this is not the Option everyone was hoping for. Option 6 carries an annual permitting fee of $215 to cover the cost of city staff examining a required site plan and contains provisions against sales and livestock. This is an issue of community, not one to be policed by recommendations made without a single bit of research and presented with photos from other cities.

If Option 6 manages to reach general council and become part of our development code we will lose, as a city, the opportunity to bring our communities together through food production. The inevitable truth is that we are all facing hard times. Our city needs to reexamine our plans for undeveloped vacant lots and an underutilized workforce. These lots are often tucked between two single family homes or near apartment complexes. Having the right to garden or farm these lots without added fees and regulations is the best way to encourage community revitalization, reduce crime and educate our next generation about environmental and social justice issues.

The field of Urban Agriculture including: School, Community and Church Gardens, Urban Farms and Microfarms and Agritourism is experiencing a reawakening. It has been estimated that much of our food travels an average of 1,500 miles from its source to our plates. By reusing vacant spaces to grow food we decrease our energy consumption. The idea of using a vacant lot to grow food is not a new one. In Dallas victory gardens once numbered in the thousands.

As Councilman Kadane pointed out during the briefing, a Community Garden is not for everyone but everyone should have the opportunity to be a part of one. To date there has only been a single instance in our city where neighbors were so divided on this topic and it happened to be in Councilman Kadane’s district. Typically Urban Agricultural spaces grow organically from the surrounding community. Few gardeners want a long commute to garden. Here in Oak Cliff we have some gardeners that come from Highland Park. We welcome them and in turn they take their experiences back to their own communities.

Also during the briefing, Councilwoman Medrano questioned staff as to the amount of gardens in existence within the city. At that point the room got so quiet that I could hear a cricket chirp. Staff did not know the answer. One of the reasons the number of gardens is unknown is because they do not create code complaints. Gardeners and Farmers are hard workers. Piles of dirt and mulch are needed for planting and are mostly used before anyone knows they are even around. Also, trash has no place in a garden. It is quickly cleaned up so as not to attract urban fauna. Nothing is worse for crops than a band of rowdy raccoons attracted by trash.

I invite you to visit our Community Gardens of Oak Cliff. Come and have some homegrown pesto in the garden. We won’t be selling it, but we are more than willing to share. Also, once you taste one of our sun warmed and ripened watermelons the one from the grocery store might not taste the same. If we were allowed chickens and bees, we might even share eggs and honey with you.

We look forward to your response.

Very truly yours,

Mariana Griggs

President, Community Gardens of Oak Cliff

Option 6 passes the TEC

Dallas Morning News reports 3o minutes ago that the latest version of Community Garden regulation called “Option 6” has passed the city’s TEC (Transportation and Environment Committee)  See report here

An official Community Gardens Response to come shortly!

CGOC Board

CGOC Responds to latest Community Garden Regulations

Gardeners,
Find attached the new staff recommendation to the city Environmental and Transportation committee. This is option 6 and I STILL think they need to go back to the drawing board. In this option, chickens (and bees) will not be allowed and a permit and site plan will be required. The cost for the permit is $215/year. This is NOT the right option. We should not be charged for growing food. Please make you comments know to the following council members before Tuesday’s meeting:
tom.leppert@dallascityhall.com

Also, if you would like to speak at the meeting please include that in your comments.
Thanks,
Mariana

OPTION 6

Community Garden Briefing Today!

This from our city’s Community Garden Coordinator:

Dear Community Gardeners and Supporters,

The official date has been formalized for the next Community Garden briefing to the Council Transportation and Environment Committee.

Please join us on Tuesday, August 10th between 2 and 4 pm.  Public seating is on 6ES.

We hope to achieve a final vote from the Committee on this issue and move forward!  Thanks for all of your support and interest along the way.

Closer to the time, you can view the briefing and agenda at: http://www.dallascityhall.com/committee_briefings/index.html.

In the future, if you have any questions about community gardens, contact the Office of Environmental Quality at 214-670-1200 214-670-1200      or GreenDallas@dallascityhall.com.

Best wishes,

Hannah Kolni

Outreach and Community Garden Coordinator

City of Dallas, Office of Environmental Quality

214-671-8980 hannah.kolni@dallascityhall.com

To learn how to build a greener Dallas, visit GreenDallas.net!