Samuel H. SageAtlantic States Legal Foundation, Inc. (ASLF) June 2012
About ASLF New York based not-for-profit, headquartered in the Near Westside area of Syracuse Established in 1982 to provide legal, technical, and organizational services to individuals and organizations dealing with environmental issues Has taken a lead role in the protection and restoration of Syracuse waterways and the CSO problem
The Impacts Economically draining for city Lower property value Aesthetical degradation High rates of crime and arson Public health issues Property Value Degradation around A Vacant Property Source: Temple University Center for Public Policy and Eastern Pennsylvania Organizing Project. “Blight Free Philadelphia: A Public-Private Strategy to Create and Enhance Neighborhood Value.” Philadelphia, 2001.
The Opportunities Stormwater retention Public amenities Urban infill development Urban forestry Urban agriculture Habitat creation and conservation
The Issue Onondaga Lake, one of the most polluted lakes in North America
The Issue (cont.) Municipal Source of Pollution: Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Diagram of a Combined Sewer Overflow System. Adapted from “CSOs Explained” Official City of Bremerton Site.
The Process: ACJ ASLF and the NYS-DEC 1988 lawsuit against Onondaga County under the Clean Water Act METRO Consent Judgment Amended Consent Judgment (ACJ, January 1998) The key legal document Outlined two dozen projects for the County Extensive monitoring program
The Process: The 4th Stip to ACJ 2009 The court order requires Onondaga County to use GRAY and GREEN infrastructure addressing CSOs Gray Infrastructure: Commitment to 88.7% annual volume capture in by 2013 Green Infrastructure: Commitment to an additional 6.3% annual volume capture in Green Infrastructure commencing immediately in 2009, resulting in 95% total annual volume capture by 2018
The Solution: Save the Rain (STR) A GI program created by the County Encompasses the storm water and GI initiatives Educates the public about issues and how they can use and benefit from GI Initiatives GI on public land Green Improvement Fund: GI on private land Rain Barrel Program Urban Forestry Program STR-Vacant Lot Program (VLP)
VLP Program Goals Reduce minimum of 9 million gallons of CSO by 2018 with GI on publicly owned vacant lots Provide different forms of GREEN infrastructure projects for Save The Rain Simultaneously reclaim greenspace in a useful way and improve value of vacant lots to community Engage public in GI maintenance for Save The Rain
Syracuse Vacant Lot Inventory 3,668 vacant parcels in the City of Syracuse (2012 data) 1,786 vacant parcels (392 ac.) in combined sewer service area where GI projects are required for managing stormwater and CSO’s 828 publicly owned vacant parcels which could be potentially used Vacant Lots in the City of Syracuse.
Syracuse Vacant Lot Inventory 814 of 828 public vacant parcels are under City ownership City of Syracuse Ownership NYS County City City Seizable Total City TD Owned Agencies Parcels Parcels 6 8 78 120 37 579 828Inventory Acreage 2.26 7.39 36.72 28.33 6.09 107.27 188.06 Parcels 0 0 24 60 25 332 441Candidates Acreage 0 0 6.92 12 5.06 80.14 104.12
VLP: A Joint Venture Between Onondaga County and City of Syracuse Initiated in 2011 by Onondaga County Funded by Onondaga County to built GI projects on City owned vacant lots Developed collaboratively to fit under both governments’ immediate planning goals Based on the agreement that defines the County’s and the City’s responsibilities in O&M of the VLP projects Developed and coordinated by ASLF The City of Syracuse Ordinance that depicts the City-County Agreement on installing GI on the City properties
VLP’s Reclamation Typologies Urban Orchard Community Garden (Ornamental or Vegetable) Urban Forest/Tree PlantingCombined with other GI practices such as rain garden, cistern, bioswale,stormwater planter, etc. VLP Pilot Project Rendering: Urban Orchard at 701 Oswego Street, Syracuse, New York
Community Involvement in VLP Outreach to general public and communities near project sites Coordination with community in planning & design process (community meetings, design workshops) Community participation in maintenance (organized to ensure the quality of performance) Green job training and job creation
VLP Projects: 2011 Urban Orchard at 701 Oswego Street Before Under Construction Design Rendering
VLP Projects: 2012 Concept Field Work 50% Design Project Status Bid Phase Total Phase Phase Phase Number of 7 3 3 3 16 Projects
Benefits of VLP Environmental Benefits Biodiversity Increase of tree canopy Carbon sequestration Reduction in pollution, heat island effects and CSO events Economic Benefits Increased property value and land desirability Lowers City’s maintenance costs Creation of new job and local business
Benefits of VLP Social & Public Health Benefits Revitalization of community Reduced crime rates Improved access to healthy foods from urban agricultural typologies Increased opportunities for outdoor physical exercise Facilitation of healthy behaviors is a factor in chronic disease incidence
Further Needs and Challenges Long-term ownership and O&M mechanism Alternatives Under public ownership Under private ownership and operation Land Trust model O&M Produce Taxes Utilities
Further Needs and Challenges Public acceptance and involvement in projects Safety issues related to urban farming on abandoned land Lawn VS Native Garden Tree(s) VS Forest Long-term monitoring and compliance with legal requirements
For More Information Atlantic States Legal Foundation, Inc. 658 West Onondaga Street, Syracuse, New York 13204 315-475-1170. email@example.com http://www.aslf.org/ Onondaga County Save The Rain Program http://savetherain.us/