Blocked Brooklyn Bridge View Claim Defeated

2 Furman Street in Brooklyn seen from the Brooklyn Promenade. Image credit: CityLaw.

Development corporation constructed buildings in Brooklyn Bridge Park that blocked view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Brooklyn Promenade. In 2005 Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation and Empire State Development Corporation adopted a general project plan for Brooklyn Bridge Park that included the development of a hotel, restaurant, and residential units upland of Brooklyn’s Pier 1. Community members demanded during the initial environmental review that the new buildings not block the view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Brooklyn Promenade.  The final environmental impact statement limited the northern building to a height of 100 feet and the southern building to a height of 55 feet. 

Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation approved the designs with height limitations measured from the base plane of the building in a manner consistent with the zoning resolution. Following the flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, the Park Development Corporation amended the designs to reflect a higher base plane that raised the height of the buildings an additional four feet.

The Park Development Corporation filed plans with Buildings in March 2013 that showed a 30.1–foot–tall bulkhead on the northern hotel building. Buildings approved the plans and issued building permits. Construction commenced in July 2013 and in September 2013 the project architect presented the final designs to community groups.

In September 2014 the northern hotel building reached its maximum height. Around this time members of the community objected that the height of the northern hotel building violated the project plan in that the hotel obstructed the view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Brooklyn Promenade. Community members formed Save the View Now, an advocacy group, and commenced an article 78 petition. The group asked the State court to halt and alter any construction in excess of the height limitations as measured from the sidewalk. The Supreme Court, Kings County, rejected Save the View Now’s argument and dismissed the petition.

The Appellate Division, Second Department, affirmed, ruling that Save the View Now’s petition was time barred. The Appellate Division found that Save the View Now could have readily ascertained by September 2014, at the latest, that construction exceeded the height limitations set out in the project plan. Save the View Now did not file its petition until seven months later, thus exceeding the four-month statute of limitations for an article 78 proceeding.


(CIT) Save the View Now v. Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp., 156 A.D.3d 928 (2d Dep’t. 2017)

By: Thomas Columbia (Thomas is a CityLaw Intern and a New York Law School Student, Class of 2019.)

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