June 5, 2019 6:30pm
Today shows the strength of community in the face of wealthy developers and a corrupt Mayor. Years of community outreach, education, and organizing, and months of research and coalition building went into preparation for this momentous day. The Lower East Side Organized Neighbors succeeded in securing an injunction against the Two Bridges megatowers, and presenting a robust and compelling argument in court.
Many times land use cases where communities sue developers or the City are immediately dismissed, without arguments even being heard. While many of those dismissals are unjust, this highlights how the Lower East Side and Chinatown have truly united to build an unstoppable pressure to do the right thing, and obey the law that forbids these megatowers.
Judge Engoron, who presided over today’s heading, surmised that the Mayor and the City Planning Commission cannot act independently or outside of the law. He acknowledged that there is a history of how developments like these can alter neighborhoods. He issued an injunction against the developers until August 2. While he will wait until that date to make a decision, he suggested that it is likely the developers and City Planning did not follow the proper process, and their plans might have to be altered accordingly. He said that findings are necessary, the ULURP review process may be necessary, and Authorization based on the LSRD (Large Scale Residential District) might be necessary, meaning the towers cannot block light/air or alter the neighborhood character.
Dozens of residents and neighbors rallied this morning against the towers and the Mayor that approved them. Today shows that their voices were heard.