Brooklyn residents sue the city for obstructing ocean views
By Charisma L. Miller, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Residents of a Brighton Beach luxury apartment complex have sued New York City over a public restroom going up on the boardwalk that, they claim, will obstruct their ocean views.
The new comfort station will replace a restroom beneath the boardwalk that was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. The residents of the Oceana condominium say the city failed to notify them of the new restroom until construction began. The city denies the claim. In an attempt to restrain the city from continuing construction, which began last week, the residents twice filed for a temporary restraining order, failing at each attempt.
“People pay this much money because they want some luxury,” resident Irina Nesterenko, 43 told the New York Times. “What kind of luxury will we have if we have this monster-sized bathroom?”
Currently across the boardwalk are metal barricades surrounding the bathroom’s construction site. Large concrete pilings, approximately 20 feet tall, are also present. The tall pilings are designed to protect against future storms, said Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey.
The residents’ primary complaint about the construction of the public bathroom, aside from the fact that it would take away ocean views, is that the city did not tell the residents about the plan and did not give them a chance to voice their concerns. The city denies such allegations.
“The city adhered to all appropriate guidelines and reviews with the project, and we are confident it will be upheld,” said Katie Kendall, senior counsel in the City Law Department’s Environmental Law Division.
“The new comfort stations, which are specially designed to withstand future hurricanes, will be funded by FEMA and have all required permits, including from the State Department of Environmental Conservation,” Kendall continued.
The residents acknowledge that the city promised to meet with them last week in an attempt to squelch a scheduled protest. However, they don’t acknowledge that the city presented a plan at a public community board meeting, as Jeffery and the city claim.
“The Parks Department notified and met with the Coney Island and Brighton Beach communities earlier this year to discuss the project's design and location,” Kendall affirmed in a statement.
“It’s not that we’re not sympathetic,” Jeffery said. It’s “impossible to speak with each and every person who might in some way be affected with this.”
Despite having postponed the original protest, the residents gathered their signs and voices last Sunday to once again express their disdain for the new comfort station.
The city says it is continuing with the construction because a judge has it permission to continue. “Completing the new comfort stations,” Kendall said, “will allow the city to reopen beaches for local residents and visitors this summer after the destruction of Hurricane Sandy."