Two controversies concerning present and future development projects at Brooklyn Bridge Park have roiled Brooklyn Heights lately. The first, being advanced under the banners of Save Pier 6 and People For Green Space, concerns plans, as not yet implemented, to build two high rise residential buildings near the entrance to Pier Six. The second, called Save The View Now, has arisen more recently as the height of the Pierhouse structure next to Pier One has increased, and focuses on trying to enforce an agreement made in 2005 that the height of any structure on that site would not exceed the height, excluding from that height any bulkheads or mechanicals structures, of the National Cold Storage Warehouse building that previously stood there.
At the initial public meeting of Save The View Now, organizer Steven Guterman cautioned against “going off on tangents” such as other Park related controversies like the Pier Six issue, which he said were also worthy concerns. It has, however, since been suggested that the two groups should present a united front for greater effectiveness. Others have argued that the two campaigns face different legal issues. The Pier Six campaign has been underway longer, and last July succeeded in getting a court to issue a temporary injunction against the Park’s proceeding with final approval of any development proposals for the Pier Six site. The basic legal thrust of the campaign now is to compel the Park to perform a new environmental assessment that would take into account the effect of the high rise residential structures on the local infrastructure, including among other things schools, transportation, traffic, and health care (now severely impacted by the closing of Long Island College Hospital, the site of which is slated to contain many more residential units, which will impose further stresses on infrastructure). In addition, the Pier Six campaign seeks to compel re-examination of the Park’s revenue and expense projections that support the need for the additional funds the high rise buildings would provide.
Save The View Now has been in existence for less time, but has succeeded in getting considerable media attention, including, most recently, this Daily News piece by Glynnis MacNicol. Its legal strategy must focus on stopping work on the Pierhouse and enforcing the 2005 agreement so as to reduce the present height of the structure. Nevertheless, arguments concerning the environmental impact of additional hotel and residential units, and regarding the Park’s need for the revenue from them, might prove useful.
What do you think?