February 25th, 2015

piranha - bluebird

Not in my backyard: RHA Gardens

Tonight's Board meeting was unusually lively thanks to a controversial proposal to expand RHA's community garden.  Currently, there are only ten or so garden plots available, and for a community of over four hundred households that is not nearly enough.  There's a long waitlist, but since folks rarely give up their plots the list doesn't move.

One of the directors did some investigation and proposed three spots to create more garden plots.  One of these locations was staked out, and it is this space that brought the crowds to the meeting.  Simply put, people hated it.  The location was very central and would be visible from many of the homes, and these residents didn't want to have the current landscaping ripped up and replaced with gardens that would be untended for several months out of the year.  Fair enough.  Privacy concerns and the impact of the gardeners on traffic and parking on the surrounding streets also brought out men and women who are normally quite content to let the association manage things.

Getting so many people riled up might seem like a good thing, but it was actually pretty beneficial.  The motion was quickly denied, so the Board will not be moving forward on the disputed land, but the controversy got the current community garden renters to pipe up and suggest that things could be shuffled around in the gardens to make room for more people.  This was not a concession they were willing to make a few months ago.  The Board will be working with them to develop a new plan for the area, and hopefully they'll be able to find a solution that satisfies most people.