Ad hoc garden irks Inner Richmond landowner 

A group of neighborhood residents are fighting to save their new garden that has transformed what they call a long-standing eyesore in the Inner Richmond district.

Three months ago, friends and neighbors of a vacant, privately owned parcel of land at Fulton and Stanyan streets joined forces and began transforming the spot into a garden with vegetable plants and flowers.

A problem, however, has arisen since the group planted the garden on private property without permission from the owner or the company that manages the parcel, who are now asking the garden organizers to remove it.

On Monday, for a fourth consecutive day, a coalition of neighbors have stood on the 1,300-square-foot parcel of land drumming up community support.

Carol Cosgrove, part owner of Citywide Property Management, which manages the parcel for a client, said she supports the beautification of San Francisco, but that the group of area residents "should have contacted the owner and asked permission" first before "commandeering" the vacant lot. "I just don’t think it was done in the right way," she said, adding that the "owner has insurance andliability issues."

Straining relations with the property owner, garden organizers used water from an adjacent building that the management company’s client also owns, increasing the building’s water bill, according to Cosgrove.

Justin Valone, an avid gardener who lives across the street from the lot, was one of the chief organizers of turning the lot into a garden. He said after failed attempts to contact the owner, they went ahead with the garden plan.

A group of about 30 went to work and cleaned "up all the weeds, trash and heroin needles," he said.

Valone acknowledged that they did use water from the building in the beginning, but no longer.

The garden is now thriving with such vegetable plants as fava beans and mustard greens and more ornamental growths such as ginger flowers, Valone said.

Jeremy Valmas, a garden supporter and area resident, said, "We’re hoping that they let us be stewards of the land."

A petition circulating in the neighborhood to show support for saving the garden has collected 300 signatures within three weeks, according to Valmas.

Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, whose district includes the vacant lot, has offered to help negotiate an agreement that would be a "win-win" for both sides. "I would be happy to try and mediate something if they would like. It’s been an open eyesore for years and years. But it is private property." He added, "I hope they work something out."

Tags: ,

Pin It

More by Joshua Sabatini

Latest in Government & Politics

© 2019 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation