Volume 79, Number 36 | February 10 - 16, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


Spring megagarage foes trash ruling, file appeal

By Albert Amateau

Hudson Square and Tribeca plaintiffs, whose lawsuit challenging the three-district Department of Sanitation garage proposed for Spring St. was dismissed last month in State Supreme Court, filed an appeal last week.

The property owners, residents and community activists, who bitterly opposed the 120-foot-tall Sanitation garage intended to serve Lower Manhattan, Soho and Greenwich Village, as well as 14th St. to 59th St. between Lexington and Eighth Aves., filed the appeal notice on Wed., Feb. 3, the same day the Department of Sanitation put the project out to bid.

“We are confident that the Appellate Court will reverse the lower court’s decision dismissing our petition to halt the planned consolidated three-district Sanitation garage at Spring St. in the heart of the Hudson Square/North Tribeca neighborhoods,” Richard Barrett, a member of the Community Sanitation Steering Committee and one of the lawsuit plaintiffs, said last week.

Opponents claimed the Sanitation garage — to be built on UPS property between Washington and West Sts. on the north side of Spring St. — would increase pollution and traffic in the neighborhood that has been changing from industrial to mixed residential uses.

The city’s proposal for the Spring St. garage was driven by a 2005 court-approved agreement that required Sanitation facilities to get off Gansevoort Peninsula by 2013 to allow it to be developed as part of the 5-mile-long Hudson River Park.

The lawsuit, filed a year ago, sought to set aside the agreement on the grounds that it violated state legislation that established the park. The suit also said the city failed to adequately consider the community-sponsored Hudson Rise proposal for a smaller garage accommodating two Sanitation districts, covering Lower Manhattan, Soho and Greenwich Village.

The suit also charged that the city violated its “fair share” principle, as well as environmental laws, in locating the three-district garage at Spring St.

But on Jan. 11, State Supreme Court Justice Joan Lobis dismissed the suit, saying the plaintiffs did not have standing to set aside the 2005 agreement, and that the project’s review complied with environmental laws. The project won final City Council approval in 2008.

In a statement announcing the Feb. 3 notice of appeal, Phil Mouquinho, owner of PJ Charlton restaurant, at Charlton and Greenwich Sts., and a plaintiff in the suit, said the plaintiffs have been trying to work with the city to find an alternative site that would serve Midtown.

Mouquinho, however, said he was disappointed by the Feb. 3 announcement that Sanitation had called for construction bids for the project.

“By announcing a request for proposals to bid out a construction contract, the city rejected our award-winning Hudson Rise plan, which would have put a two-district Sanitation garage under a rooftop park,” Mouquinho said.

Carol DeSaram, president of the Tribeca Association and a plaintiff in the lawsuit, criticized the dismissal of the point to set aside the 2005 Gansevoort Peninsula agreement.

“Now, the judge [Lobis] has explicitly denied us the opportunity to uphold the rules of the Hudson River Park Act, which safeguards the park and its surrounding community,” DeSaram said.

The appeal contends that the agreement to move Sanitation facilities off of the peninsula and into the Spring St. site should have triggered a public hearing. DeSaram said she hoped the appeal would lead the city and the community to a consensus on a better alternative to the project.

 

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