NYC’s partially halted anti-flood plan can move forward: appeals court

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An appeals court ruled Tuesday that construction on part of a massive $1.5 billion project to save Manhattan from a temporarily halted flooding can now go ahead.

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More than 100 Lower East Side residents and activist groups sued last year to block part of the East Side Coastal Resilience Project — which will span 2.4 miles on the east side of Manhattan — requiring prior approval from the state legislature. Claims plans.

The group claimed that the project, which would raise esplanades, parks and gorges and install floodgates and sea walls, would destroy East River Park.


But on Tuesday, the Appellate Division, Department of First, upheld the decision to upend the trial to a lower court, finding that the city council – which approved the project in November 2019 – did not require additional approval from the state.

“We do not downplay the petitioner’s concerns that this project will burden the surrounding community which houses thousands of residents,” Tuesday’s ruling read.

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Court documents state that during the projected five-year project, about 40 percent of the park will be closed for construction.

The $1.5 billion project proposes to add flood stops and walls to blue areas predicted to become flood zones by 2050.
NYC Flood Hazard Mapper

“The city hopes that any burdens caused by the project will be rewarded with a rejuvenated East River Park that is well protected from future storms, making the park a recreational area for many years and generations to come. allowing it to fulfill its role,” the ruling continued.

Municipal attorney Georgia M. Pestana said she is thrilled to be on the side of the court with the city’s arguments in the case.

“This is a big win for New Yorkers, especially those living in an area hit by climate change and severe storms,” ​​Pestana said in a statement. “We are delighted to be able to move forward to strengthen the park and protect the surrounding community for generations to come.”

The Department of Design and Construction said the project will “protect the Lower East Side form storm surge and tidal flooding while replacing parks and open spaces throughout the region.”

Arthur Schwartz, the lawyer for the petitioners in the case, said he disagreed with the decision and said he planned to take his appeal to the New York State Supreme Court.

Activists tie to a tree outside City Hall to protest the East Side Coastal Resilience Project on October 8, 2021.
Residents of the Lower Side East claimed that the flood plan would ruin East River Park.
AP Photo/Mary Altafer

“We think the Court of Appeal will be interested in reviewing it and there we go,” Schwartz said.

A separate but related lawsuit was filed earlier this month claiming that the contract for the project did not meet city and federal recruiting-quota targets to include minority and women-owned businesses.

The Department of Design and Construction denied the allegations, claiming that they had complied with all the diversity requirements.


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