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Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation Media Coverage Pier 6

Brooklyn Bridge Park Settles Housing Lawsuit

May 28, 2015

by Lisa W. Foderaro, The New York Times on May 28, 2015

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation has settled a lawsuit brought last summer by a community group, allowing park officials to begin to move forward with the final phase of their development plan.

The group, People for Green Space Foundation, had argued that the park corporation, which oversees development of both the park’s public spaces and commercial real estate, had modified its original plan, principally by including affordable housing in two towers long planned for Pier 6, near Atlantic Avenue

Mayor Bill de Blasio last summer announced that 30 percent of the units in the towers would be set aside as affordable.

The changes, People for Green Space argued, required a new environmental review and an application to amend the plan.

In the settlement, filed on Wednesday in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, the group was denied the environmental review, but it prevailed in its demand that the park corporation formally amend its plan.

Building luxury housing along the park’s edge was contentious from the start. But the park was predicated on such development. (A residential-and-hotel complex is under construction at the opposite end of the park near Pier 1.) The park is expensive to maintain since it consists of several piers that are subject to wind, tides and marine organisms.

Frank Carone, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the park corporation must hold public hearings on any amendment to the plan. Ultimately, he added, the Empire State Development Corporation, a state agency with some oversight of the park corporation, will then “affirm, deny or modify” the amendment.

“Now, community folks, interested parties and experts can testify and be heard in a fair process whereby all evidence will be considered,” Mr. Carone said.

The group that brought the lawsuit had argued that the inclusion of affordable housing violated the original concept for the park — that the only development necessary was that which would pay for its operations and maintenance. The affordable units, by their nature, would not produce such revenue.

But New York City officials countered that the real estate development at the park could serve the twin imperatives of providing more low-cost housing and also supporting the park.

Officials for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation praised the settlement. The lawsuit had delayed its consideration of development proposals for Pier 6; now that process can move forward.

Belinda Cape, a spokeswoman for the park corporation, said: “We look forward to moving ahead with a fantastic project that will not only plug the final remaining gap in funding for this world class open space, but provide affordable housing, community space and a beautiful gateway to the park’s southern entrance.”

The settlement also stipulates that the maximum heights of the two towers — 155 feet and 315 feet — include any mechanical structures on their roofs. Another residents’ group has sued the park corporation over the complex under construction to the north of Pier 6. That group argues that the mechanical structure there exceeds the building height caps.

Please click here to read an online version of this article.


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