Request for cooperation from City of Ithaca to Occupy Ithaca

21 Dec
Thank you for the invitation to your General Assembly meeting today. I think that Seph, Jennifer and I all found it interesting and helpful.
As I noted at that meeting, your group’s appeal of the Superintendent’s denial of your permit application will be heard at the Board of Public Works meeting scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday), starting at 4:45 pm, on the third floor of City Hall.  The item did not appear on the pre-published BPW agenda because you had previously asked the Board not to consider your appeal, and it was not known whether you still wished to pursue it.  I understand that Occupy Ithaca has urged its supporters to rally tomorrow and to march to City Hall to attend the meeting.  Please be advised that the Board has other business to attend to as well and it is possible that the amount of time available for public statements for and against may be limited.
My other purpose in sending this email is in response to a suggestion posed after the General Assembly meeting. I understood that some participants at the meeting were not aware that the City had suggested several possible (non-parkland) relocation sites for Occupy Ithaca’s activities. I request that this email be distributed widely by you, in an attempt to inform your participants and supporters of the City’s proposals, before your General Assembly meeting on Thursday evening.
The City cannot agree to tenting at or overnight use of DeWitt Park or any City parkland. Individuals are free to carry on Occupy protest activities during the hours of 5 am to 10 pm. These protest activities can include tabling, assembling, meeting, and speaking out, and might even include the erection of a symbolic tent (if a permit is secured for it), but any such tent would have to be disassembled (or moved to non-parkland) during the park’s closed hours.
If the Occupy encampment moves to private or, with a permit or license, to City-owned land that is not parkland, the City could allow symbolic tents overnight (but not living in the tents) and there would be no curfew issue.
An agreement between Occupy Ithaca and the City would be in the form of a license, an agreement which the City enters into regularly, permitting use of the designated land for a specified period of time, and renewable by the BPW. The City would require conditions such as no fires on the premises, provisions for trash removal, no disruption of streets or sidewalks, and safety/sanitary concerns of this nature.
The relocation sites proposed by the City are as follows:
–  Triangle of land bordered by Six Mile Creek, Clinton Street, Cayuga Street garage, and the library. This land is owned by the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency and under the control of the City.  The Cayuga Green company has an option to purchase the land, for development of apartments.  That option expires on December 31, 2011, but is likely to be extended by the City until June 30, 2012. Until the option is exercised (not likely in the next few months, at least), the land remains under City control and can be used as the City decides.

–  Area where N. Titus Avenue dead ends into a turn-around space, adjacent to W. Clinton Street and Route 13, just west of the CVS pharmacy.

–  Parcel of City-owned land adjacent to one of the entrance drives to the WalMart-Lowe’s complex, but it is the southerly entrance, not the northerly one (which is known as Fairgrounds Memorial Parkway).  This southerly entrance from Route 13 is also at a traffic light, and approximately across from the Friendly’s restaurant (as well as a small brick structure that is a former pumphouse – also owned by the City).  The small parcel of land on which the pumphouse is located could also be licensed to your group.

If your appeal is denied on Wednesday night at the BPW meeting, we understand that you have scheduled a General Assembly meeting for Thursday night. We will need to hear from Occupy members whether or not the group is willing to pursue an agreement concerning one of the proposed relocation spots (or an alternative location acceptable to the City) by 5:00 pm on Friday December 23, 2011.
For negotiations between the City and your group to succeed, both sides will need to commit to a continuous, ongoing dialogue (probably primarily by phone and email), up to the point that an agreement is reached.  We are requesting that Occupy Ithaca commit to such a dialogue and identify the person who will be the negotiator for your group.
Thank you for your attention and consideration of this matter,
Krin Flaherty
Assistant City Attorney

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