Electeds move to stop tower despoiling Palisades view

Electeds move to stop tower despoiling Palisades view
Courtesy of LG Electronics

Locals pols are taking a dim view of development of an office tower they say will mar Bronx vistas of the New Jersey Palisades.

Because there is a 35-foot height restriction in places like Englewood Cliffs, NJ, institutions such as Wave Hill in Riverdale and local residents have enjoyed unparalleled views of the Palisades mountains north of the George Washington Bridge and across the Hudson River.

Concerns are at the fore in west Bronx communities that face the Hudson River because the New Jersey municipality granted a variance to LG Electronics to construct a 143-foot tall office tower on private property next to Palisades Interstate Park, not far from the foot of the cliffs.

Congressman Eliot Engel, Senator Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, and Councilman Andrew Cohen have announced that they will file an amicus (friend of the court) brief in support of a lawsuit challenging the variance currently in the appeals process in New Jersey Superior Court. A judge has already ruled once in LG’s favor.

“New York and New Jersey may be a river apart, but residents from both states understand the importance of preserving the national treasure of the Palisades,” said Klein, who called the LG project a “massive and unwanted overdevelopment.”

The amicus brief opposing the variance is expected to be filed in March by noteworthy environmental attorney Bradley Campbell.

The theme of overdevelopment, a major concern in the east Bronx and elsewhere in the borough, was woven into the local legislators comments.

“The Palisades are among our region’s most prominent natural assets, but overdevelopment jeopardizes this treasure for future generations,” said Engel. “As we have seen over many years, smart development can be combined with conservation efforts so that we can create jobs in the region without sacrificing one of the trademark landscapes in New York.”

The 143-foot-tall building would serve as the South Korean-based LG’s U.S. Headquarters.

It could be built as a shorter, but wider building, with the same capacity, said Dinowitz. Councilman Cohen called the project “detrimental to the integrity of the Palisades.”

But John Taylor, a spokesman for LG, called Dinowitz’s idea of a shorter, wider building “naive,” and also called out Engel because he feels the Palisades are “trademark landscapes” of New Jersey.

Taylor said construction has already begun at the site after six years of research, four years of preparation, and consultation with NJ community groups.

“We don’t believe that the opinions of elected officials from New York reflect the needs and desires of Bergen County and the State of New Jersey,” he stated. “And they’ve overlooked the economic and environmental benefits the project will bring. They have been misled by the NY activists opposed to the LG project.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742–3393. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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