City Limits: Court Ruling Rebuffs De Blasio Admin Over Manhattan High-Rises

Handel Architects / A rendering of potential development in Two Bridges provided by the developers. Farthest left is the Extell tower, which is already nearing completion. The other four towers have yet to be approved and are the subject of the fight.

A state Supreme Court judge’s decision released Thursday could send the developers behind proposed four high-rises in Manhattan’s Two Bridges neighborhood back to square one, in a victory for City Council and Manhattan Borough President and a defeat for the de Blasio administration.

Supreme Judge Arthur Engoron ruled in favor of the Council and Borough President Gale Brewer in their lawsuit contending that the proposed development must go through the public review process, known as Uniform Land Use Review Procedure or ULURP.

Doing otherwise, the judge ruled, would cause “irreparable harm.”

“First, a community will be drastically altered without having had its proper say. Second, and arguably more important, allowing this project to proceed without the City Council’s imprimatur would distort the city’s carefully crafted system of checks and balances,” Engoron’s decision stated. “Under ULURP, the City Council’s mandatory role is not merely to advise, but to grant or deny final approval (with the mayor). Without ULURP, the city’s legislature is cut out of the picture entirely.”

The court’s decision means the original City Planning Commission approval vote last year is void and the developers will have to re-submit their land-use application, according to Paula Segal, attorney with TakeRoot Justice, who represents the Tenants United Fighting for the Lower East Side (TUFF-LES), CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities and Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) group in a separate lawsuit against the proposed Two Bridges development…

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