It doesn’t measure up!
Brooklyn Bridge Park builders are again saying one thing and delivering another now that plans they filed with the city show two parkside luxury apartment buildings have more floors than promised in June, park watchdogs claimed this week, but green space officials say there’s nothing to worry about, as the buildings will stay within their legally mandated height limits — with the exception of a 9-foot bulkhead on one of the parcels.
Plans recently filed for the two controversial towers at Pier 6 have raised the eyebrows of activists who claim park honchos have been deceptive about how many stories each building will actually rise — as they were when the Pierhouse hotel and condo complex ended up blocking protected views of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.
“This is the story of Brooklyn Bridge Park,” said Judy Francis, president of activist group Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund “Bait and switch.”
Officials in June told the park’s board of directors — made up of elected officials, their appointees, and local stakeholders — that the towers would stand at 28 stories and 14- to 15-stories, respectively, before the board voted to approve the proposal. But last week’s filings show plans for the buildings at the foot of Atlantic Avenue topping out at 30 and 16 stories.
A park official said they were being truthful with the public and the board all along and nothing had changed since June, explaining that the extra stories will only house mechanicals and storage rooms, which he said are not considered floors — despite being labeled as such by the Department of Buildings ‚ and will not exceed height limits.
Under the terms of a 2015 settlement, the structures must stay within a 315 and 115-foot height limit — including the bulkheads and machinery on top, and the buildings adhere to the height cap, according to the filings.
But a spokeswoman for the park acknowledged that the 16-story building’s bulkhead will exceed the cap by nine feet. That is because the park asked permission to do so from the Empire State Development Corporation, which is overseeing the project — and just requesting the modification to the plan gives them the right to go higher, the park claims.
The park has run in grey area surrounding height caps in the past — a 2015 lawsuit alleged that the Pierhouse hotel at Pier 1 had blown its 100-foot height limit by adding unplanned mechanicals to the top, blocking protected views of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Park honchos argued that the activists had known about the bulkheads all along, and a judge eventually threw out the case, but not before pointing out that the building looked “simply too large.”
A separate lawsuit last year claimed that the penthouse at the Pierhouse luxury condo complex was too big, once again jutting into the only legally protected scenic view in New York City. The same judge threw out that lawsuit too, saying that the case wasn’t brought forth quickly enough for him to do anything about it.
Francis claims that the latest development with the Pier 6 towers only further validates a lawsuit filed by the Brooklyn Heights Association that alleges the park’s board was misled when it gave the green light to the buildings in the summer.
“The BHA’s lawsuit makes plain that the Brooklyn Bridge Park board were misinformed when they voted for housing in June, regard to everything about these buildings — heights, location, facilities, need for funding — so it is no surprise that the park is again playing games with the heights and bulks,” said Francis.
The towers will also house a gym, lounges, playroom, ground-floor retail, a so-called “dog washing station,” according to the plans.
The city said in June that a previously planned pre-kindergarten space for one of the lots would be moved to another nearby location, but has yet to reveal additional details of where the promised tot academy will be sited.
©2016 Community News Group
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