Liveblogging the Transportation and Environment Committee Meeting
Good afternoon, Friends. Here we gather in City Hall's icy 6ES to commence the Transportation and Environment Committee Meeting, at which is promised discussion of both transportation and environment: street cars and community gardens are both on the agenda, with a bonus presentation on the North Central Texas Council of Governments Sustainable Development Grant, which the Bobsky apprised you of earlier.
Kicking off with the community gardening initiative: Kris Sweckard, managing director of the Office of Environmental Quality, whose presentation deals with community gardens on vacant, privately owned lots, and only those gardens. He's presenting a set of recommendations for the community gardening ordinance, and those recs are: gardeners must get written permission of the lot's owner, and pay, each year, a $215 fee to obtain and maintain a permit. If they want to hook up water to the lot, that's about $2,025, and electricity's $60, though there's a possibility that might go up to $100. No on-site sales of the garden's produce are allowed, and no farm animals, either. Overhead lighting is outlawed, and you can only build, at max, a 10 foot by 10 foot structure on the back 30 percent of the property. A little sign is allowed. But it can't be illuminated.
Ready to start your garden? Good. Just don't do it in Sheffie Kadane's neighborhood, because he's displeased with the potential for seed- and shovel-wielding misfits who might come in from the mean streets to plant things on an otherwise vacant lot that was perfectly happy being vacant and its neighbors liked it that way, TYVM.
"I think that's a problem, to build a community garden in a community that doesn't want it," says Kadane, going on: "I don't see how you can bring 15, 20, 30 people from outside a community to do a garden in my community when that's not what it's for."
The issue of neighborhood permission has been up for discussion for some time, and there doesn't seem to be any common ground on the issue. Whereas Linda Koop expressed a "wait and see" kind of approach --l et's see if neighborhoods really start complaining about these gardens, Kadane says that's unacceptable. Ron Natinsky agrees. He thinks "neighbors would want to have some input over whether it's appropriate to have community garden there or not."
In the end? Nothing doing, really. They've moved the recommendations to be discussed in the Zoning Ordinance Committee, which will likely happen at the end of this year or even next year.
And now ... street cars!