Members of the Siempre Verde Community Garden are hopeful a letter from City Council member Margaret Chin will convince the city to abandon efforts to develop the Lower East Side parcels.
Last year, William Gottlieb Management pitched a plan to build luxury housing on a lot it owns, 139 Attorney St., as well as 137 Attorney St. and 181 Stanton St., two city-owned parcels. The garden has been using the lots under a temporary permit since 2012. Last fall, Community Board 3 approved a resolution opposing the development plan and calling on the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to permanently transfer the lots to the Green Thumb Program, part of the Parks Department.
In a May 8 letter to HPD Commissioner Vicki Been, Chin wrote, “I am requesting that these two properties be officially transferred to the (Parks Department).” She stated, “it seems unlikely that there will be further discussions on the development of these two lots.” Chin added that the project would only lead to the development of three affordable apartments.
City housing officials have been evaluating every parcel in their portfolio, including community gardens, with an eye towards building new affordable housing. Last October, an HPD spokesperson told us, “We’re taking the input and opinions of the community and the Community Board under consideration and are in the process of assessing the available options.” Now, they have apparently concluded the Stanton and Attorney Street lots are ill-suited for development. It remains to be seen what it will take for HPD to officially relinquish them.