THE FACTSWHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT
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.
To show your support to Save The View Now please click here to sign the online petition.
Creative Accounting 101
The developer of the Pierhouse is ignoring the building height restriction codified in the 2005 General Park Plan and Final Economic Impact Statement (FEIS) created for the Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Before the Pierhouse construction started the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp ordered the demolition of the National Cold Storage Warehouse (CSW) that stood roughly in the same location. The building height restriction written into the Park plan was the result of 20 years of analysis and discussion designed to improve the views available of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Promenade relative to the now demolished CSW. That stipulation has been all but forgotten by the powers to be at the Brooklyn Bride Park Corp.
In a letter to the Brooklyn Heights Association dated Nov 7, the BBPC tries to explain why a building that was supposed to have a total height of no more than 100’ when measured from the ground and now stands at a total height of 136.5’ over the same spot is really only 100’ tall. We do not buy the mathematics.**
The BBPC seems to be completely oblivious that the purpose of the height restriction was not some esoteric concept but something as simple as a view. Somehow they think that blocking a view to make room for mechanical equipment is more important than to follow the words that they wrote in the FEIS where they state:
The efforts include measures to fully protect the extraordinary views currently available within the park and its surrounding environs.
Maybe the BBPC thinks it is more important for the equipment to have a good view than the hundreds of thousands who visit the Promenade annually, or maybe they think we all have x-ray vision?
The BBPC is also ignoring the fact that they responded to a comment asking specifically about this issue with the following statement:
…Any required parapet and mechanical equipment would be included in the proposed building envelope…
A mistake may have been made when they allowed Toll Brothers to exclude the parapet ands mechanical equipment from the building height calculations. Hey, everyone makes mistake, however, the only thing to do when you make a mistake is fix it, not ignore it.
We are calling on Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo to:
- immediately call a halt to the construction of the Pierhouse complex
- develop a restoration plan to restore the Pierhouse hotel building on parcel A to the 100 foot height limitation “inclusive” of mechanicals with no adjustments as per the original plan.
- confirm that the Pierhouse residential building on parcel B will not pierce the 55’ limit stated in the FEIS and will be in compliance with the Brooklyn Promenade Scenic View Plane regulation.
- form a community oversight committee with the power to approve or disapprove any future modification
**The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp. makes the point that the bulkheads only cover 15% of the building roof area. However, the bulkheads are placed across the width of Parcel A thereby substantially obstructing the view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Promenade. The percentage of the building that the bulkhead covers is largely irrelevant as it is the impact of these bulkheads across the roof line that is of utmost concern.