Roger That Community Garden May Be Developed - Page 2 — Brooklynian

Roger That Community Garden May Be Developed



  • edited July 2015
    If privately held land were allocated on the basis of populist desires and/or needs, we might get what you desire.

    However, as you point out, it is allocated based on individual means and overseen by laws.
  • Indeed the judge can not invoke eminent domain.   But we could!  You'll recall that the council person for that area Robert Cornegie Jr. was elected by a 7 vote margin.  If he thought that 7 people really wanted him to invoke eminent domain and might vote for someone else if he didn't............
    His chief of staff is Stephanie Zimmerman and her number is 718-919-0740.  Give her a call.  Your kids may be glad you did.
  • And yes, eminent domain really is a law.  Just ask the folks down by Atlantic Yards how it works.

  • edited July 2015
    Capt -
    I don't have any children, and am not interested in calling an obscure council person, Mr Cornegie, in an attempt to stop property owners from excercising thier long established rights.

    Why would I bother Ms. Zimmerman with requests that they have no means to achieve?

    I like community gardens, and believe they are a good use of land that is awaiting development, and land which is owned by the city or a trust.

    I hope the "16 hearty shirt wearing souls" will be able to find new land that meets that description.

    I also have a fear: As a result of making the owners go through the process of evicting these gardeners, other owners of undeveloped land will be less willing to lend it to other gardeners.
  • FYI, Mr. Cornegie has very much the power to request use of eminent domain and also the power to request funding to acquire the lot.  As noted elsewhere there are now two building being built on the block same block as Roger That, both of which are two or three stories taller than the existing structures on the block.
    I think it's our obligation as citizens in a democracy to take charge of our communities. If we don't, who will?  
  • edited July 2015

  • edited July 2015
    Frankly, no one.

    Nor do I believe they should.

    There are very good reasons we are not a pure democracy.

    I would not want to live in world where my rights, or those of others, could be taken by people who did not like it when they were exercised.

    ...the court will decide the merits of the gardeners case. Mr Cornegie is hopefully busy with more pressing affairs. As the Chair of the Committee on Small Business, he likely understands the importance of small businesses (like this developer) in his district.
  • We fail to remember that zoning was an invention started right in here NYC.  Much public outcry arose over the sheer vertical rise of buildings in lower Manhattan, creating "canyons" of darkness.  In response to this outcry, the first zoning laws were created to block the wealthy elites from destroying the habitability of city streets.
    Now we are engaged in a great new uprising of intense development pressure, resulting in many zoning changes, some to aid developers, such as the upzoning of Franklin and Bedford Avenues, and others to aid community residents and homeowners, such as the downzoning and landmarking of most of residential blocks in Crown Heights.
    Just to say, ah there's nothing we can do is simply denying the evidence of what has just been done in the past six years.
    I believe a man such Cornegie who won by just seven votes will definitely respond to consistent and significant pressure from the residents.
    Does the block of Park Place between Rogers and Nostrand need two and probably three buildings that tower over the rest of the block?  Wouldn't a nice give back to the block be one or two nice parks or gardens for folks to congregate in?  Relax in? Grow fresh organic vegetables in?  
    I feel that these are the kinds of questions those who really care need to be asking themselves.
  • edited July 2015
    Because what happens locally is largely a function of means, preferences and law, I think we are better off contributing to a land trust or an org like 596 Acres than asking ourselves what we "need".

    This isn't about "need". We are a community that has the vast majority of our "needs" met.

    Let me know how it goes with Cornegie, and at the next court date.

    While Mr Cornegie didn't win by many votes, this is Brooklyn!

    ...He likely has a job for life if he can manage not to be indicted.
  • edited July 2015
    As stated above by @capt. planet, the next court date is tomorrow.

    Here is a picture of the lot back when it was housing:



    Hopefully the gardeners have harvested all of their veggies and removed all of their tools, because eviction orders are often enforced on the same day the court makes a decision.
  • I doubt, knowing Roger That, that they have choose to use their time productively.
  • You don't think they will pack before going to court?
  • If I was a gambling guy I'd put money on no. 
  • Case now adjourned until Sept 9.

    The developers are starting to run up against winter, when it is more expensive to create a foundation.
  • Sept 9 = Wednesday!
  • edited October 2015
    Case was adjourned on Sept 9th, and the next episode in this very slow moving saga is Thursday, October 22. The gardeners have created flyers and purchased more tshirts:

  • still? hm. i know one of the main fighters for this garden high tailed it off to the west coast a few months ago. i thought that meant it was dead for sure
  • In walking by over the last few nights it seems as if the Garden has a bunch of new residents. The rats which took over the vacant lot behind the laundromat (following the successful TNR several years ago of the feral cat colony that lived there), have now now been gentrified out of the Bedford/Rogers block. They have taken up residence in the garden (and probably in the basement of the church and house as well) as they get pushed further west. 

    Ah gentrification!
  • In walking by over the last few nights it seems as if the Garden has a bunch of new residents. The rats which took over the vacant lot behind the laundromat (following the successful TNR several years ago of the feral cat colony that lived there), have now now been gentrified out of the Bedford/Rogers block. They have taken up residence in the garden (and probably in the basement of the church and house as well) as they get pushed further west. 

    Ah gentrification!
    I've noticted that as well. I hope they don't come further east.
  • At the Sanitation committee meeting of CB 8 this week, one of the older members recalled the days when it was required that all home owners keep their trash in sealed metal buckets behind their gates.  Sanitation workers were required to open the gates, remove the buckets, empty them and return them behind the gates.
    When you walk the streets now in the morning on one of three weekly pickup up days, you see endless rows of plastic bags lining the street.
    To a rat, this is just a big smorgasbord.  That is "a buffet offering a variety of hot and cold meats, salads, hors d'oeuvres, etc."
    Hence the rat problem.

  • Interestingly Roger That Garden just won another day in court this week, getting an  extension until November 16th.  Go Roger!
  • These adjournments have two possible effects:

    1. It may cause developers to bid less on sites presently occupied by gardeners, because they are such a pain to get rid of. (Effect is good for present gardeners)

    2. It may cause owners of vacant land to not be willing to let gardeners use them, even though they tend to foster community and improve the neighborhood land values (Effect is bad for aspiring gardeners).

    Which effect is stronger?
  • Deed fraud is on the rise.  It could be that the "owners" of Roger That Garden bought the lot after it was foreclosed on.  Hence the $10 price.  
    Senator Jesse Hamilton is proposing to purchase another garden on Maple Street in Prospect Lefferts Gardens using eminent domain.  Do you get the sense that people are feed up with capitalism and the greed that fuels it?

  • Here's a link to the story that ran yesterday on WNYC radio about the Maple Street Community Garden.
  • edited October 2015
    Capitalism is not going anywhere, whether we are fed up with it or not.

    Also, deed fraud does not seem to be in play at the Roger That garden, and has yet to be proven in the case of Maple St.

    So, can you comment on my question?
  • edited October 2015
    So, you believe that this will cause #2 more than #1?

    Do you believe the answer lies in symbolic populist gestures by politicians?
  • Here's a question for you: do you believe in history or do you think that life is just an endless loop, like "Groundhog Day" on steriods?
  • I believe every moment is distinct and unique.   Hence, I believe in history and the present.

    ...and that none of us experience it the same way, or assign the same meanings or emotions to it.

  • Wow, you should be a politician.

  • edited October 2015
    Thanks, but politicians don't have much power. I would rather be a deep pocketed developer.
  • Here's the reason the City has little power over vacant lots and abandoned buildings.

    Thanks to Paula Segal Esq. for providing this brief synopsis.  

    " In 1996, Mayor Giuliani
    decided to stop taking buildings in rem.
    Instead, the city would place tax and water liens, a right to seize possession
    of the property (as well as emergency repair liens, in which a landlord fails to
    repay the city for intervening in hazardous conditions) against a building and
    then, after a period of staged warnings, sell the liens to a servicer, which
    would then package the liens and sell them as investments. In this way, the city
    would get its money up front, and privatize the question of what happened to the
    buildings—and their tenants."

  • edited October 2015
    I also secretly like my own rights more than I like the rights of others.
  • "deed fraud ...has yet to be proven in the case of Maple St."

    Still not proven, I guess, BUT today the judge in the"quiet title" case in Supreme Court  dismissed the "owners"  case
  • edited November 2015
    So, the "owners" have to refile their eviction request?
  • Two different cases; the one still pending is in Housing Court.
  • Ok, the eviction case against the gardeners is still pending.

    So, the court dismissed the "other case"?    The case brought by the person who claims s/he was the legal heir of the case, and the developers illegally obtained the deed? 

  • I believe the case that was dismissed was the one seeking to confirm the Makhnay bros. title, after they supposedly "bought" the property from the possibly non-existant "nephew" of the last known owners. According to the gardeners the "nephew" used someone else's Social Security number and the deed bears an illegible notary's signature, with the line for name and license number blank and the city and state of signing misspelled:

  • So, that case was brought by people who wanted to show that the title was not valid, and a judge dismissed it.

    As a result of that case being dismissed, the Makhnay bros can continue with their related case, which seeks to evict the gardeners.

    How large will the building be?

  • NO, the result was the OPPOSITE of that--their attempt to validate their title failed
  • Got it.

    So now all the gardeners (defendants) need to do to stop the eviction is demand that the plaintiff's show a validated title.

    ...and because the plaintiff's can't do that, the eviction case will be dismissed.

    So, the next step will be to determine who owns the land.     If that can't be figured out and back taxes are owed on it, the city will get to sell it at auction and put the excess in some kind of escrow account.

    I think the site might fetch $1M.

  • I hope the eviction is stopped as easily as you predict. The last known owner died in the early '90s, so determining who actually owns the land isn't exactly a rapid process.
  • I believe that determining who owns the land will be a separate process from stopping the eviction. the short term, I believe the only thing that matters is that the plaintiff has been determined to not have a valid instrument proving that they own the land.

    Organic carrots for all! :)

  • edited November 2015
    Interestingly Roger That Garden just won another day in court this week, getting an  extension until November 16th.  Go Roger!

    That is today.   Here is an action shot:

    The gardeners were successful:   The case was discontinued.

    Did the landlord's not have their act together showing that they were the legal owners?

  • Some concerned community residents removed an ugly eyesore at the Roger That Garden today.  Seems the "owner's" fence permit had expired.  Much improved view of the mural and garden.  Love the "Not 4 Sale" sign.

    026 027 028 029 030
  • edited January 2016
    Fund raiser and letter writing campaign at Two Saints tomorrow:  12525338_10100131163045088_6066915436441290320_o
  • Looks like the gardeners didn't prevail. New fence went up this weekend after the workers pointed the side of the church building. Can construction be far behind?
  • edited May 2016
    No new plans have been file since these, so I believe this is what will be built:   
    "An application was filed today for a four-story residential building on the property at 115 Rogers Avenue, also known as 749 Park Place.

    The new building would hold six apartments divided across 3,990 square feet of residential space, as well as 1,140 square feet of ground floor commercial retail. That works out to an average apartment of only 665 square feet—almost certainly rentals, and about as small as the zoning code allows for new buildings. 

    There will be one apartment on the first floor, and two each on the second, third and fourth floors (adding up to seven apartments, not six)."
  • Update from one of the Roger That organizers:  
    "From what I understand, we were formally evicted at the end of April, but they still haven't paid off the back taxes and the lot is looking to go to auction in the summer"
  • Update from Rachel:  Before any work can be done, however, Segal said nearly $250,000 in tax liens on the property must be resolved in an ongoing foreclosure case for the Rogers Avenue lot.

    As a result of back taxes being owed by the developer, a judge is set to decide whether or not to put the property up for public auction at a hearing on June 28.

    My bet is that the developer will be able to raise the $250k required to pay what is owed by to June 28th.

    ...seems like a no brainer for an investor with some $.

  • Any news here? I see that the fence is covered in murals of a non confrontational nature scenes not seen in urban areas much. I suspect the murals are apart of the developer trying to fill the void so graffiti  protest will have not room.
  • No new filings since Sept 2015.

    So, the owners might be getting their financing and contractors in place? 

    Or, perhaps holding it to sell at a later date.  
This discussion has been closed.