When we started Save The View Now on December 22, 2014, we could plainly see the oversized Pierhouse hotel structure (Parcel A) already towering way beyond the agreed upon plan. While we were concerned about the second building on Parcel B (the condominium) and expressed our concern in our online petition, we were shocked to learn recently that the building plans Toll Brothers submitted to the NYC Department of Building (DOB) for Parcel B depict the building to be in violation of both the Scenic View Plane regulation and the 55’ maximum height limit that is stated in all the Park planning documents.
“You Have My Word”
We have heard repeatedly from the BBPC that they fully intend to honor the SV-1 regulation. A look at the plans for Parcel B filed with the Department of Building (DOB) proves just the opposite. The plans show Parcel B at approximately 68 BBHD in the area subject to SV-1 Regulation and nearly 75’ BBHD in the area subject to the 55’ height limitation. When we asked BBPC about the discrepancy and what was being done to remedy this, the response we received was “you have my word that Parcel B will comply.” In other words, we should just “trust them.”
The disaster on Parcel A shows you what happens if we “trust” them. So we asked them to show us drawings that support that Parcel B would not pierce the SV-1 and the 55’ height limitation. The response we received was “we will get you revised plans as soon as possible.”
We have also heard repeatedly from the BBPC in public comments to reporters and in Op-ed pieces that the scenic view plane regulation would not be violated. I would have expected that they could back that proclamation up with facts. To date, the only “fact” we have is that the plans currently on file with the DOB are in violation of the height limits.
In a written response to STVN the BBPC wrote:
As discussed, we have asked the developer to obtain confirmation from DOB that the plans for the southern residential building comply with the SV-1 restriction. Following receipt of confirmation, we can provide you with approved drawings demonstrating SV-1 compliance.
The above sentence is troubling from a number of prospectives.
First, how is it that the BBPC, who should be responsible for the oversight of the project, does not have copies of the design plans that show compliance with SV-1? Second, following a quick look at the plans filed with the DOB, it is clear that the plans on file are in violation. If we, a community group formed only 4 weeks ago, can undertake this review in just a few minutes, how is it that BBPC has not done the same? To this end, the fact that BBPC is relying 100% of the DOB to confirm compliance is troubling. Brooklyn Bridge Park is a massive construction project that will cost over $350M to fully develop. How is it that they do not have enough staff or competence to confirm compliance with the height limitation? Third, why is BBPC permitting Toll Brothers to continue with construction on Parcel B using design plans in violation of the height limitation? Interestingly, following our meeting with BBPC, our understanding is that the design plans are currently being revised. BBPC would not answer our question as to when these revisions began, but responded again stating that we should just trust them to get it right.
All of this leads to a bigger and more concerning question which is whether BBPC is capable of providing real oversight on any aspect of the Park.
Maybe that is why we are in this mess.
[For Your Review, we are posting official filings. Click on each to expand.]
Brooklyn Heights Scenic View District Outlined In the RFP