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‘Park’ plan has its day in court

The Brooklyn Paper
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A lawyer for the state-run Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation openly mocked a community lawsuit against the proposed waterfront development as “skullduggery” at a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday.

“This is a strange case from any vantage point,” said the BBDC lawyer, David Paget, at a hearing in state Supreme Court to determine if the Brooklyn Bridge Defense Park Fund lawsuit against the development agency can move forward.

The Defense Fund is suing city and state planners for breaking the law by putting private condos in a public park.

In an 80-minute oral argument, Paget and his City Hall counterpart Carrie Noteboom argued that no laws were broken — and that the Defense Fund should take its case to policymakers not a judge.

“All of the questions raised here are policy questions and design issues,” Noteboom said.

Unlike Paget, she did not use the term “skullduggery” — which means “unscrupulous behavior” — though she did call the suit “political” and “manufactur­ed.”

She and Paget also shrugged off the plaintiff’s larger issue, namely that the state violated Public Trust Law when it threw out an old plan for the publicly owned waterfront land that had been created by a coalition of community groups.

“The city recognizes the plan that grew out of that 30-year movement, but that doesn’t mean that the city is committed to … that plan,” she said.

That argument most incensed Defense Fund supporters at the hearing.

“They have finally come and said that the neighborhood planning process has nothing to do with what’s really going on,” said Heloise Gruneberg. “The bottom line is that they don’t listen to the community and now they can [make that a legal argument] in court.”

Justice Lawrence Knipel has not said when he will issue a decision on the case.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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