Panel: We need a Boardwalk environmental study

A Coney Island community panel is backing Boardwalk preservationists who want the state to conduct an environmental review before the city replaces the historic span’s iconic wooden beams with slabs of concrete.

Community Board 13’s Parks and Recreation Committee voted unanimously on Monday for a full environmental impact study on how converting all but four blocks of the wooden Boardwalk to concrete will affect the surrounding area, and ordered a moratorium on all construction until the findings are in.

The committee’s decision lends some teeth to preservationists suing the city over the exact same thing and comes a day after Mayor Bloomberg announced that all city seaside footpaths would become concrete.

“You don’t do a project by trial and error, you have to plan it,” said Community Board 13 Marty Levine, one of many community members who said a study was necessary to avoid future problems.

“Asking for a probe into what can be done is par for the course with these kinds of projects,” CB13 district manager Chuck Reichenthal added.

Wood advocates cheered the decision.

“It shows that the board is behind our lawsuit,” said Friends of the Boardwalk president Todd Dobrin, one of the plaintiffs in the case. “If the study finds that concrete is better, I’ll live with it, but why is the city against having a study?”

The city has long argued that a study is unnecessary, since a concrete boardwalk occupies the same space and serves the same purpose as a wooden one.

“What this project is doing is replacing a boardwalk with a boardwalk,” said city lawyer Katy Kendall at an Oct. 26 hearing.

The full board must approve the committee’s request, but both the city and the state can deny the appeal since the panel’s role is only advisory.

Judge Martin Solomon is expected to rule on the lawsuit at the end of the month, plaintiffs say.