The Real Deal New York

Advocates sue to block developer from plowing up green space

Longtime community garden on Norfolk Street slated to become residential building

March 11, 2014 01:00PM

Developer's fence at 157 Norfolk Street

Developer’s fence at 157 Norfolk Street

Advocates of a community garden on the Lower East Side are trying to block the lot’s current owner from building a residential development on the lot by suing to seize the property.

The Children’s Magical Garden has occupied the green space at 157 Norfolk Street on the corner of Stanton Street since 1983 to grow fruits and vegetables for the community.

The group was reportedly kicked out of the garden last year by partial owner Serge Hoyda, who put up a fence around his portion of the property and then sold it to a development group. Now, advocates of the garden have filed a suit with the New York Supreme Court claiming damages from being shut out, and are seeking control of the garden based on the law of “Adverse Possession.” That law gives a party that has occupied a space for more than ten years the right to ownership, DNAinfo reported.

The developer, a limited liability company with ties to the Horizon Group, snapped up the property from Hoyda for $3.3 million in January. It subsequently filed plans with the Department of Buildings to put up a six-story apartment building there, according to city records.

The 7,242-square-foot building, which would be designed by Daniel Bernstein with Kutnicki Bernstein Architects, would be built as “Quality Housing,” according to the plan. The designation would allow the developer to build a larger building than zoning would normally allow in exchange for restricting the height of the building.  [DNAinfo] -- Angela Hunt

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