Tulsa City Councilor Questions Community Gardens


P.J. LASSEK
Tulsa World
March 5, 2009

Tall grass might not be the only kind of weed that could sprout in community gardens as an unintended consequence, City Councilor Jack Henderson said Tuesday.

The council needs to consider all of the doors it might open by allowing community gardens, Henderson said during a council committee meeting. A proposed zoning amendment that would allow the gardens “by right” doesn’t address what can be grown, he said.

[efoods]“How do we know what people are going to be growing? Vegetables? Maybe. Or, maybe something else,” he said. “Is there going to be someone that inspects what is growing?”

After the meeting, Henderson confirmed that he was alluding to marijuana.

But, he said, his main concern is protecting neighborhoods.

“I’m not against community gardens. I am for the citizens’ right to choose and say what goes into their neighborhood,” Henderson said.

The council has been given an amendment that would allow community gardens on privately owned vacant lots with the permission of the property owner.

The amendment comes as a recommendation from a Community Garden Committee established by the mayor to find a way to make the gardens possible. Currently, the city’s zoning code doesn’t address them.

After gathering much public input, the committee recommended that the gardens be allowed without the need for special zoning approval. Seeking such approval cost $1,000 but would provide an avenue for public input.

Last week, Henderson and Councilor David Patrick were vocal about allowing a neighborhood to decide whether a community garden could exist on private property.

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