Saturday, September 8, 2012

Anger over garden grows |

Dog feces were left on a table in the St. Augustine
 Beach Community Garden. Contributed Photo
Posted on September 8, 2012 by PETER GUINTA

ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH — The Beach City Commission voted three times to permit a community garden on city property at A Street and 2nd Avenue, but it seems that the garden issue is still not resolved.

The garden is on the commission’s agenda for Monday night, this time under “old business.”

Other than the police department turmoil earlier this year, the community garden is probably the most divisive issue the city is facing.

Residents of the Coquina Gables neighborhood object to the garden’s location, its legality and the propriety of handing over control of city property to what the opponents call a “private club.”

Denny Dean, an A Street resident for 20 years, called the commission’s support for the garden “unconscionable and inconsiderate.”

“They went full-steam ahead, despite what the neighbors wanted. They gave away green space and now we have a parade of SUVs (coming and going from the garden) on the weekend.”

Grow your own

But Nana Royer, president of St. Augustine Beach Community Garden Inc., said incorrect information is being presented as fact by the opponents.

Their 60-member club is a “public, nonprofit organization that’s not private,” she said. “It’s open to everyone. People literally walk by and join.”