STVN will appeal the recent decision by Judge Knipel

Sep 25, 2015 — 

Dear STVN Supporters,

We received a lot of encouragement from you to push ahead with an appeal, after the disappointing news that Judge Knipel decided to dismiss our case in his September 21st opinion. In addition, in a recent Crains’ NY report, Adrian Benepe, who was head of the city’s Department of Parks and on the board of the BBP Corporation at the time the promise was made, confirmed that there is no question that a commitment was made to protect the views of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Promenade.
We spoke with Jeff Baker, our lead attorney, to discuss an appeal and believe it is the correct course of action, though it will be difficult.

Substantively, we have a stronger record going into the appellate court, as Judge Knipel granted our request for renewal. This allows for the important new evidence, the hidden uses of the bulkheads and the fact that the leases for the Pierhouse include a strict 100’ height limitation, to be included in the record. Judge Knipel’s rulings centered around his agreement with the Defendants that this is an Article 78 case subject to a 4 month statue of limitations and that we were simply too late in filing our law suit. We disagree that this is an Article 78 case and therefore a 4 month statute of limitation does not apply. Nobody, not even Judge Knipel, has concretely pointed to a date of any “governmental action” being taken by BBPC/ESDC that we should have challenged.

To the contrary, we have shown that at each key instance raised by the Defendants, no action was taken by these agencies and thus, there is no “government action” available for us to challenge. The genesis to our law suit is that BBPC/ESDC failed to take action, thus inherently there is no action to challenge. This is why we filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment, which is subject to up to a 6 year statute of limitations.

Allowing this decision to stand sets a horrible precedent, giving New York State governmental entities complete discretion to ignore procedures and processes put in place to protect the public interest.

This is an important case. It is also clear that the iconic views of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Promenade were promised to be protected by the Park planners in 2005. Anyone reading the 2005 General Project Plan and Environmental Impact Statement would come to that conclusion. At some point, however, the combined Defendants decided that the view was no longer important to protect, instead it was more important to oversize the buildings so that Toll Brothers could reap additional revenue, by our estimate, of about $140 million.
We are cognizant that in assessing our next steps, the cost of the appeal must be considered. We received a reasonable estimate for the appeal from our legal counsel, and believe it is achievable from a fundraising perspective. Therefore, we are again appealing to you to donate to our legal fund so we can continue this fight to restore the views of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Promenade. All amounts are appreciated.

We greatly appreciate all your financial support and encouragement. We are overwhelmed by the number of responses we received from you to pursue our case to the appellate division.

To donate online please follow this link: www.savetheviewnow.org/donate

Or you can mail you donation to:

People for Preserving the View Foundation
c/o Steven Guterman
75 Columbia Heights
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Please make checks payable to “People for Preserving the View Foundation.

Thank you,

Steven Guterman
Save The View Now

Statement about Judge Knipel’s Decision

 

Dear STVN Supporters,

We are deeply disheartened and shocked to receive Judge Knipel’s 2 1/2 page decision ruling in favor of the defendants and dismissing our case. The decision is completely devoid of any explanation about how he came to his conclusion. We struggle deeply with why such a short ruling with no logic or analysis required seven weeks to write.
Attached for you review is the decision from Judge Knipel. JudgeKnipelDecision21Sept2015
We will be conferring with our legal advisors over the next few days to determine our next steps, which will likely include an appeal.  If we allow this ruling to stand, it means that government entities are free to hide and mislead the public and do whatever they deem in their discretion, with no accountability or recourse to the public. This is simply wrong and unacceptable.