Dear ERFA Friends, Neighbors and Concerned Citizens,
As many of you know, our battle is now entering its fifth year.
Yes. It has been five years since we undertook the arduous mission of rezoning the East River Fifties and successfully accomplished it. As we all know, despite our “win,” the developer challenged the rezoning and demanded an exception to the new zoning, and, largely as a result of its own brazenness, obtained approval from the Board of Standards & Appeals for a “grandfathering” of its megatower in our residential neighborhood.
Since that time, we have been fighting back with an Article 78 lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court, where we have filed detailed and extensive papers showing why the Board of Standards & Appeals decision in favor of the developer was incorrect and should be reversed.
We have also asked the Court to grant us a preliminary injunction to prohibit the developer from continuing construction while our Article 78 case is pending. We are sorry to have to report to you that our request for a preliminary injunction was denied, appealed and then more recently, denied again.
Thus, as everyone can see from street level, the developer continues to push forward and work toward the completion of its building despite the fact that the Article 78 case still languishes inside the judge’s chambers without decision.
Please do not misconstrue the silence of our newsletters or lack of Town Halls as lack of cohesion, interest or even worse, an inclination to concede defeat. We have not lost energy, nor are we merely angry. We are furious.
And we are frustrated. We have found ourselves unable to provide clear answers with respect to the status of our case because they have not been forthcoming from the Court. Our lawyer has pressed forward and stressed the urgency of the matter, and the Court seemingly has recognized that delay is extraordinarily unfair to us. Nevertheless, more than a year has gone by since the December 2018 hearing, and still we have no decision from the Court.
Thus, we find ourselves between the proverbial rock and a hard place; in the absence of a decision — which we could either enforce or appeal, depending upon whether the Court decides for or against us — and without a preliminary injunction to maintain the status quo while we await that decision, we must wait. With each passing day, it becomes more and more difficult to imagine that this is “business as usual.”
The question remains, “What in the world has happened on East 58th Street?!!”
And even if we could appreciate how busy the court is, the building is inconsistent with the new zoning, grows more so every day, and a court decision has gone way past anticipated timing.
Our neighborhood, our community, our quality of life has been ignored. Residents are suffering through this construction as AHVs are being granted from 6:30 in the morning through 7 pm, and on weekends, ostensibly because the developer — the developer! — suffers “hardship.”
Our community is entitled to a decision on something that alleges egregious wrongdoing on the part of the developer.
We will have our first Town Hall of 2020 on the 23rd of January. Please join us and your many neighbors to voice your opinion and hear our plans to advance our circumstances.
JUSTICE REQUIRES A DECISION NOW.
Your ERFA Leadership Team,
Alan Kersh, Jessica Osborn, Lisa Mercurio and Eleanor Mascheroni