By Charisma L. Miller, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The New York City Parks Department has delayed the erection of large comfort stations along Coney Island and Brighton beaches. The bathrooms, one of which is the subject of a lawsuit by nearby condominium owners, will replace restrooms beneath the boardwalk that were destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.
As previously reported in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, unit owners of the Oceana Condominium, a luxury residence in Brighton Beach, have sued New York City over the public restroom that, they claim, will obstruct their ocean views.
Currently across the boardwalk are metal barricades surrounding the bathroom’s construction site. Large concrete pilings, approximately 20 feet tall, are also present. The new restroom was scheduled to arrive last week, but that delivery has been halted.
“Underground obstacles … prevent the construction from continuing with the original design,” Tony Bolbolian, general manager at the Oceana Condominium, stated in an email obtained by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “We have been notified that this comfort station will need to be re-designed.”
The New York City Parks Department has not provided any information about the reason of the delay but has assured that the comfort stations will be erected in short order. “Starting [this] week, new comfort and lifeguard stations will be delivered to beach locations during the overnight hours,” the Parks Department said in a statement.
Stressing the importance of the restroom structures, the Parks Department further noted “these stations must be in place before we can reopen city beaches.”
The need for the comfort stations has not gone unnoticed by those against the restrooms. The unit owners’ primary complaint about the construction of the public bathroom, aside from the lack of ocean views that the name Oceana Condominiums allude, is that the city did not advise the unit owners of the plan to construct the restroom and did not give them a chance to voice their concerns.
The city denies these allegations. “The city adhered to all appropriate guidelines and reviews with the project, and we are confident it will be upheld,” said Katie Kentall, senior counsel in the City Law Department 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.”
The lack of ocean views may just be the beginning of worries for the Oceana community. The installation of the comfort station will bring with it the usual construction woes: loud noise and late night drilling. “You will likely hear truck and crane activity, and other construction sounds,” the Parks Department warned.
Furthermore, “the delivery and connection of the…comfort stations will last a few hours…during the overnight and morning hours.” After Saturday, May 25, when the city parks reopen to the public, the Parks Department assures that the noise “will be significantly quieter.”