Suiting up! Pierson and G’pointers vow to sue city, developers over ‘inadequate’ waterfront tower studies

Big little brother: Neighbors also want to stop the two tower 77 Commercial Street development in its tracks.
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It’s going to be a bumpy Landing.

Angry Greenpointers are planning to sue the city and developers over two planned waterfront luxury apartment complexes that they say are steam-rolling over environmental protections.

The ad hoc group announced the suit at a rally against the Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial Street developments on Wednesday night. Council candidate Stephen Pierson was on hand to tell the crowd of 75 protesters that he will spearhead the lawsuit with the goal of stopping the 12 towers from rising.

“This is not right, and [the developer] should not go unchallenged,” said Pierson.

Not in our neighborhood: City council candidate Stephen Pierson leads a rally protesting proposed high-rise aparment buildings on Commercial Street.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

The legal action would be based on the city’s decision that the developments — a 10 tower compound with as many as 5,500 apartments and a two tower neighbor with a total of 720 at the Newtown Creek end of Greenpoint — would have no negative environmental impact. The anti-high-rise group says the findings are based on a study that is eight years old, running afoul of a requirement that the city make decisions based on accurate information.

“[The developers] might claim that they have updated a few things,” said Pierson. “But if they had done anything significant, they would have published it.”

The energetic crowd toted signs bearing messages such as “The roof is too damn high” and “Greenpoint does not equal Midtown.” Protesters said they fear a repeat of the massive condo skyscrapers lining Williamsburg’s waterfront, which activists decried for increasing rents and failing on promises to expand parks, but failed to prevent from rising.

“We have a real fighting chance to stop this, and I believe in fighting,” said Rolf Carle, who lives on Milton Street, near Greenpoint’s proposed vertical village.

Not in our neighborhood: Greenpoint resident Linda Carney, 9, holds a sign protesting the high-rise buildings planned for the waterfront.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Pierson said that even if the Article 78 lawsuit does not hit its mark, it will buy neighbors time until a new mayor takes office, which could be a crucial factor in the battle against the project.

“Even if we lose, we can tie it up until we get a new mayoral administration that might be more sympathetic,” said Pierson “Bloomberg was setting the bar [for developers] very low.”

Both projects are slated to rise a stone’s throw from Newtown Creek, which was declared a Superfund site in 2010.

The community board will vote on both projects on Sept. 9, but those votes are only advisory and have little bearing on whether the projects will ultimately be built. The 77 Commercial Street complex does not have a projected completion date, according to the developer. The Democratic primary election is Sept. 10.

Not on my waterfront: Greenpointers are planning to sue to stop Greenpoint Landing from rising in their backyard.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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