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Brooklyn Bridge Park, Testimony by Ken Baer

My name is Ken Baer. I reside in Brooklyn, and am Chair of the NYC Group of the Sierra Club.

The Sierra Club opposes any plan for the Brooklyn Bridge Park that incorporates the construction of any buildings over 5 stories within its boundaries or within 300 yards of the park. Any buildings constructed in the park must be of a design that is consistent or complementary with the styles in Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill.

The plan for the Brooklyn Bridge Park must maximize the public’s access to the waterfront, and preserve the current sightlines from Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill to the East River and New York Harbor.

The Sierra Club also opposes any new development within the first two flood zones in NYC. Considering the flooding of Brooklyn Bridge Park as a result of Hurricane Sandy, the construction of the proposed 2 new high-rises is crazy. In light of this recent flooding, and the prediction by James Hansen that our sea level may rise up to 10 feet, a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement is necessary.

Another concern of the Sierra Club is the shadows that buildings of 315 and 155 feet will cast on the piers and water. Aquatic life will be disturbed if buildings of this height are constructed and the amount of sunlight on this ecosystem is diminished.

The Sierra Club has supported the establishment of a Brooklyn Bridge Park since 1991. One of the founding 13 principles that we reluctantly agreed to was that the park would be financially self-sustaining. It has now come to our attention that the park has reached that threshold and does not need any additional revenue.

To go forward with the construction of these two buildings is an affront to the concept of what a park should be. A park is for the purpose of providing residents with a place for recreation and relaxation. The authorities that are involved with the development and administration of the Brooklyn Bridge Park have the duty to bring us the best park possible, not luxury housing with magnificent views. Housing has no place in a park.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify.

Ken Baer, Chair

NYC Group, Sierra Club