Brooklyn Heights

Arguments in court continue, as Brooklyn Heights Association fights mayor & park on Pier 6 development

Issue: Are new buildings in Brooklyn Bridge Park necessary?

November 6, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The proposed Pier 6 development.  Rendering courtesy of ODA-RAL Development Services-Oliver's Realty Group
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Oral arguments continued on Monday in the lawsuit brought by the Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) against Brooklyn Bridge Park opposing two residential towers the park has begun to build on Pier 6.

State Supreme Court Justice Carmen St. George, presiding at the Civil Branch in Manhattan, asked sharp questions of attorneys on both sides as BHA attempts to show that the park is going ahead with the two large buildings — 28- and 14-stories high —in violation of the park’s General Project Plan (GPP).

The GPP states the intention of development in the park is “to build only what is necessary to support annual maintenance and operations.”

The park maintains that the Pier 6 development is financially necessary, and that units of affordable housing planned for one of the towers, which would not bring in revenue, serve a social good and are not expressly forbidden by the GPP. Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing for the affordable housing component through Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, chair of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation.

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This was the second appearance for both sides before Justice St. George, who took the case over in August from Justice Lucy Billings. Billings has been reassigned to be in charge administratively of every asbestos case in New York County.

BHA attorney Richard Ziegler stated the community organization’s case during opening arguments on Nov. 2. During that hearing, St. George attempted to broker a compromise between the park and BHA, to no avail.

On Monday, as park attorneys David Paget and Haley Stein began arguments, St. George again called the two sides into her chambers. But talks fell through and the arguments continued.

St. George leavened the lengthy hearing with dashes of humor, much appreciated by the audience seated for hours in the packed courtroom.

When a question about a nine-foot stairway atop one of the disputed towers came up, the judge asked the park attorney Paget, “Stairway to what?”

After a pause, Paget tentatively answered, “Stairway to heaven?”

“We all need one,” St. George shot back.

“You stumped me,” Paget said.

“It doesn’t happen often,” St. George rejoined.”

Oral arguments will continue on Nov. 14 at 2:45 p.m. in courtroom 308 at 80 Centre St. in Manhattan.

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