Grass Verges protected

Following last week’s debates in relation to motions on the Dublin Development Plan, which GADRA lobbied strongly in relation to the protection of the grass verges, on your behalf, GADRA are please to inform you that the grass verges along the field on Griffith Avenue are to remain zoned Z9, rather than be rezoned as White Land as was the proposal submitted by Cllr Niall Ring.  The detail of the proposal was as follows: 

Cllr Niall Ring – Motion No. 14.12 MOT-01491

MOTION 86. Chapter: Rezoning Motion. That the section of grass verge, 30m in length approximately, running parallel between the Dublin City University (DCU) site and the public road along Griffith Avenue, between the footpath and the road, currently zoned as Z9 in the current City Development Plan be either rezoned to facilitate access across the grass verge or alternatively to update the Z9 definition wording to include new wording permitting access across the grass verge and allow a new entrance off Griffith Avenue to DCU.

To facilitate entrance to DCU site which has no other access points available.

We note that this is almost the same wording as had been used by DCU in their original submission in February, which was not supported by the City Manager.  The City Manager was opposed to Cllr Ring’s motion but the City Manager’s opposition was not supported when put to a vote, which is very disappointing especially as local councillors did not seem to appreciate the significance of this motion and actually supported the motion.

The Development Plan is a lengthy process with many rounds to it.  To synopsise, the following is the timeline of how the proposal emerged:  

DCU submitted a request to change the zoning from Z9 to Z12 last February.  This was refused by DCC as the land is currently in use as a Z9 (community use – leaf mulching).  DCC stated at that time that the verge is integral to protecting the tree lined character of Griffith Avenue  and there were other existing and potential access point to the land

Cllr Niall Ring subsequently submitted a motion for a zoning amendment in August during the Phase 3 part of the process, according to DCC Planning, asking for the zoning to change to White Land.  GADRA felt this was disingenuous, as there is a clear intent for the land which has been indicated to be for access for vehicles, which is why we believe the rezoning was proposed.  It is our understanding that a White Land designation is to cater for those cases where land is zoned for development at some time in the future but no objectives currently exist, and on the basis  GADRA felt the request should be ruled out of order.  DCC have stated that there are existing alternative access points and potential other access points for access to the site and thus this rezoning is unnecessary.  GADRA feel our verges and trees must be protected at all costs as they are the essence of the avenue, especially in the context that DCC have indicated that the rezoning is unnecessary as there are alternatives.  In addition we note that the cycle lane has just been completed,  and another exit on to it is completely unnecessary and hazardous.  Unfortunately the Councillors initially supported Niall Ring’s motion against the advice of Chief Executive DCC who further included  an environmental assessment of the motion as follows:

Motion could lead to loss of significant trees / treescape. Likely significant environmental effects on biodiversity and landscape. SEA* is required. If Motion is carried forward then it may require a protective addition – e.g. no existing trees shall be removed or otherwise adversely impacted by any proposed works.

GADRA made contact over the summer with all Councillors in the Central area and North Central area, in addition to our TDs, and asked everyone to make submissions regarding the issue.  We are very grateful to all those who made submissions, including our neighbours in the All Hallows Association. 

Cllr Alison Gilliland, Cllr Eimer McCormack, Cllr Patricia Roe and all the Green Party Councillors as a group submitted motions to protect the grass verges, which went to a vote last Wednesday. Cllr Niall Ring’s Motion was defeated by 47 votes to 10, thus reverting the grass verges to Z9.  All local Councillors spoke in favour of protecting the verges and voted in favour of protection, except for Cllr Seamas McGrattan (Cabra Glasnevin), Cllr Breige McOscar (Ballymun).  We sincerely thank the Councillors who supported the Z9zoning                                                                                                       You can watch this section of the debate here

The relevant part starts at 1.43 into the recording.

The verges are protected for now but there will be more attempts to rezone them and we need a plan to protect the Avenue as a whole – we need ideas as to how to do this and people to help us.  The Avenue is 100 years old and is certainly worth fighting for.  So please get on board and help, and also make sure your Councillors know that you want them to protect the verges and trees for future generations.  Also please use the leaf mulch cages around the area – cages will be going in along the Field next week.