October 2019 Update

Dear Concerned ERFA Members,

We are writing to update you regarding the construction at 430 East 58th Street and the status of the litigation pertaining to it. You have not heard from us recently because there has not been much “new” news to report, but we do want to share the most up-to-date information.

First of all: many of you have asked whether the fact that the construction is taking place means that we have lost the litigation to prevent a megatower at that site. In a word, the answer is “No.”

Our Article 78 case — in which we have asked the Court to reverse the “grandfathering” that was granted to the developer by the Board of Standards and Appeals — is still pending. We had hoped and expected to receive the Court’s decision long before now, but no decision has been rendered yet.

As we previously informed you, the reason that construction is continuing while the lawsuit is pending is that the Court denied our request for a preliminary injunction. Please be aware, though, that the denial is NOT a statement by the Court as to how the Article 78 case will ultimately be decided. In making that point, the judge’s order specifically stated “… the court does not [now] reach the merits of the petition…”

If ERFA ultimately prevails, the law would require the developer to demolish any portion of the construction that is inconsistent with the tower-on-a-base zoning that was adopted by the City Council in December 2017. We have recently apprised the Court of the speed with which construction has been progressing and, therefore, the increasing logistical complexity that demolition would entail. We believe that calling the judge’s attention to the “facts on the ground” will help to move the case to a decision.

Separately — regarding the after-hours (evening and weekend) construction activities that so many of you have justifiably complained about — here is a letter that Ben Kallos sent to the Department of Buildings on September 19th questioning why permits have been issued for such work.

Finally, we want to thank you for your patience and continued support throughout the rezoning process and ensuing hearings and litigation, and also to let you know that — despite the difficulty of getting the Department of Buildings to respond to complaints in a timely manner — you should nevertheless call 311 if you see construction activity that appears inappropriate.

 

Your ERFA Leadership Team

Alan Kersh, Jessica Osborn, Lisa Mercurio and Robert Shepler

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