Community Group Sues Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pierhouse Developer Over Height, Views


Community group Save the View Now this week sued developer Toll Brothers and Brooklyn Bridge Park over the height of the Pierhouse hotel and condos, now under construction in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The group alleges the height of the buildings has illegally violated the park’s own General Project Plan. State Supreme Court Justice Lawrence Knipel issued a temporary restraining order preventing construction on a section of the development south of the Squibb Bridge, the group announced Thursday.

The details are complex, but suffice to say at issue is whether or not the three-building condo and hotel development at 60, 90 and 130 Furman Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park is blocking views of the Brooklyn Bridge in violation of any laws.

Brownstoner broke the story in September that the northernmost part of the development, 1Hotel at 60 Furman Street, has angered preservationists because it is, in fact, blocking a view of the Brooklyn Bridge a 2005 agreement between the park and another community group, the Brooklyn Heights Association, sought to protect.

But — whether or not the height of the three buildings violates any laws is another question — and one this lawsuit seeks to answer.

The General Project Plan limits the height of the two buildings north of the Squibb Bridge to approximately 100 feet and the portion south of the Squibb bridge to approximately 55 feet. But bulkheads and penthouses containing mechanical equipment on the roof add another 30 feet or more to the buildings.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp. argues the bulkheads are permitted by zoning code and were approved in a very public, years-long review process. Save the Group Now says the exceptions are not permitted under the General Project Plan because it makes no mention of them.

The case will be heard starting May 11. In addition to the park and Toll Brothers, Save the View Now is also suing Empire State Development Corp., Starwood Mortgage Capital, and the City of New York.

Above, all three buildings under construction in January. You can read Save the View Now’s announcement here.

A Brooklyn Bridge Park spokesperson sent us this statement this morning:

We are pleased that under today’s decision construction at the Pier 1 development can continue. This lawsuit is an unfortunate attempt to enshrine the unprotected views of a select few at the expense of the millions who use the Park. The Pier 1 development underwent an extensive, transparent design review process dating back to 2011. All design changes, including modifications following Hurricane Sandy, were shared and discussed publicly. These buildings comply with the General Project Plan and the Brooklyn Heights Scenic View District. We’re confident that the plaintiff’s spurious claims will not be permitted to interfere with the completion of the Pier 1 site, which will provide critical funding to keep the park safe and well-maintained for park visitors for years to come.

The Brooklyn Eagle has a story here and the Brooklyn Heights Blog also weighed in.

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