Bridge plan rejected – again

Bridge plan rejected – again
Photo by Patrick Rocchio

The new City Island Bridge design is not getting any support from another community board either.

With Community Board 10 already opposing the modernistic bridge to the quaint island community, adjoining Board 12 is also giving it a thumbs down.

The City Planning Department requested that CB 12 vote on a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure that calls for support of easements and parkland swaps to build a temporary bridge so the new one could be built to replace the current City Island Bridge.

CB 12 held a joint public hearing with CB 10 on Tuesday, Feb. 25, and two days later voted unanimously not to support the ULURP.

“We are reluctant to put our stamp of approval on any project where the community feels it was not adequately consulted,” said CB 12 Chairman Father Richard Gorman.

City goof

A mistake on City Planning’s part forced a vote by CB 12 very late in a ULURP process, according to a DCP representative at the Feb. 25 meeting.

CB 10’s land use committee also voted unanimously on Tuesday, Feb. 25 not to support the measure.

“City Planning realized that they had messed up and that CB 12 should have been involved because we border each other, said CB 10 Chair John Marano, “so now they are trying to fix it.”

Marano called it “a blessing in disguise because it gave our board and the City Island community more time to look at what the city is proposing. We had more time to educate our board members.”

Some CB 10 board members at the joint board meeting said they felt voting to support building the temporary bridge might make the current bridge design the only alternative.

Controversial plan

Controversy continues over the replacement bridge design, which calls for a much larger superstructure – a 164 feet above the roadway.

The City Island Civic Association contends the city Department of Transportation never received an expression of support of the bridge design and outright lied in a Draft Design Report where the agency stated former CICA President Frank Fitz said on October 30, 2007 that he supported the bridge design.

“The DOT got its approvals by alleging they had community support in the design report, and that is not true,” said John Doyle, CICA corresponding secretary.

Frank Fitz also denies he ever support the bridge design.

“I unequivocally deny that I ever supported the bridge design,” said Fitz. “It was never expressed or implied.”

Doyle said that the DOT has contended at different times that the bridge design did not require community support, on other occasions expressed to various state and federal agencies that the community had given its support.

DOT responded by stating that “The language you’re referencing is based on the agency’s understanding of a meeting attended by the DOT and the Civic Association on that date.”

The next official ULURP step is a vote by the Borough Board controlled by Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who has already expressed his opposition to the city’s bridge design.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (718) 742-3393