Before beginning construction of Brooklyn Bridge Park the Empire State Development Corporation and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation were required to prepare a draft and then a final Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS and FEIS). Many pages in the FEIS are devoted to the acknowledgment of the special views that exist in the environs of the park and the surrounding area. The following can be found early on in the FEIS, chapter 1, page 6.
Landmarks, Gateways, and Connecting Views
A carefully constructed sequence of visibility, both in the approach to the water and through the park space, is intended to make certain that Brooklyn Bridge Park is accessible and comprehensible both from a distance and within its confines. The proposed plan builds this sequence through landmarks that can be seen from afar, gateways that offer long views into the park, and connecting views that open up the experience of the space. The efforts include measures to fully protect the extraordinary views currently available within the park and its surrounding environs. For instance, the design intends to protect views at the Fulton Ferry and Atlantic Avenue entries, as well as the view plane and the existing views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the harbor from the Promenade. New structures have been carefully placed so that important viewsheds and protected view planes around the site have been fully respected.
It goes without saying that many in the community were very concerned about the survival of the unique views that exist throughout the area. The above paragraph clearly says the ESDC and the BBPDC also understand the issue and would be sensitive to preserving the views while building the park and other buildings. It even goes further and says that “New structures have been carefully placed so that important viewsheds and protected view planes around the site have been fully protected.”
Clearly the addition of at least 3 additional stories that block the historic views of the complete Brooklyn Bridge roadway and suspension cabling from the Brooklyn Promenade have not been protected.
Even more to the point is the response to Comment 224 to the Draft EIS. The comment and response can be found in the FEIS, Chapter 24 pages 89 and 90.
The ESC created photomontages based on the information in the DEIS and from the Sanborn Map Company. These utilize a digital CAD model and photographs of existing conditions. They assume a four foot parapet and penthouses of 25 feet. The montages show that the Pier 1 buildings will block more of the Brooklyn Bridge as viewed from the Promenade and the small building will break the Promenade’s Scenic View Plane and will encroach on views from the Promenade and will partially block the view of the Empire State Building. Some views to Lower Manhattan from the Promenade would be improved. The view of the Brooklyn skyline from the water would be altered, obscuring the Watchtower from view. Views would be created from the water to the Promenade and Brooklyn Heights. The view from John Street towards the Manhattan Bridge tower would be obscured. Views to Lower Manhattan would be partially obscured. The view to Lower Manhattan from Atlantic Avenue and Furman Street would be obscured. (ESC)
As described above, the drawings generated by ESC are flawed and do not accurately depict the proposed building envelopes. Any required parapet and mechanical equipment would be included in the proposed building envelope. The proposed hotel-residential development on Pier 1 would be approximately one story shorter than the buildings depicted in the ESC visual simulations. The portion of the development within the protected view plane would be 55 feet high; the portion outside the view plane would be 100 feet high, which is approximately the height of the existing Cold Storage Warehouse buildings.
The response unambiguously states that any required parapet and mechanical equipment would be inside the building envelope and that the hotel building would be limited to 100 feet. The height of the hotel structure is currently estimated to be at least 130 feet.
Construction needs to be halted now pending a full review of the current construction, a remediation plan developed to bring the hotel building height into compliance with the FEIS and a review of the plans for the residential structure to insure that there are no impairments from all other important viewsheds.
The complete Final Environmental Impact Statement for Brooklyn Bridge Park can be found here.
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