Nearly 100 of them held signs like “Stop the Tower” and “The Roof is Too Damn High” at the site on the corner of Commercial and Dupont streets on September 4 in protest of the planned 40-story towers.
Some are calling for an Article 78 lawsuit against the city to essentially “rezone the rezoning,” but elected officials like Assemblyman Joseph Lentol are skeptical.
“If it isn’t too late, it’s very doubtful the court would find the standard of proof required by Article 78 proceedings,” Lentol said. “They’d have to prove that the city acted arbitrarily and capriciously.”
Lentol said the 2005 rezoning brought with it a number of compromises, such as an increase in affordable housing rates from 20 to 33.3 percent, and he suggested that residents now start focusing on ways to compromise with developers.
“If you’re really worried about these towers and you want certain things done, this is the time to ask for things like amenities and infrastructure,” he said. “They should be asking for more affordable housing.”
At last week's rally, Stephen Pierson, a 2013 City Council candidate, told residents that he met with lawyers earlier that day who advised that he follow through with the lawsuit.
“Based on the advice of our attorney, we will be proceeding with an Article 78 lawsuit against the City of New York to halt these totally irresponsible, oversized, unacceptable projects, “ he said “The developers are relying on an out of date and incomplete environmental impact study done more than eight years ago.
“We cannot allow unaccountable developers and absentee elected officials to consign our community to a future of failed infrastructure in the name of more luxury condos,” Pierson added.
Local resident Rolf Carle joined in the rally.
“You’ve seen what happened with the Northside,” he said. “This is really about our community and trying to change the way it is and not allowing the zoning to smother us.”
Dennis McConkey, a Greenpoint resident for the last 22 years, shouted out over the crowd while walking his dog past the protest.
“This is the only place that looks like New York anymore, and now they’re trying to get rid of it,” McConkey exclaimed. “They’re stacking people up in 500-square-foot apartments for $3,000 a month, and that’s what’s happening to our city.”
McConkey said green infrastructure should be a priority, not more housing developments.
“This should be a wind farm and a park, and no more of these high rises for these billionaires and millionaires,” he said. “What about us who work everyday? That’s who we should be focusing on.”