Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lawsuit Hopes To Overturn LPC and City Decision on Park51/Cordoba House

Even though the Landmarks Preservation Commission has given its approval to the Park51/Cordoba House project in Lower Manhattan, that hasn't stopped opponents from trying to kill the project.
The motion, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, also asked a judge to allow the plaintiff’s lawyers to conduct discovery, the pretrial phase of a lawsuit in which each party can obtain evidence through depositions and other means.

The firefighter, Timothy Brown, sued the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission on Aug. 4, accusing it of acting “in an arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable manner” when it paved the way for the project by refusing to grant historic protection to the building on the site where the $100 million center would be constructed.

The lawsuit also named the city’s Department of Buildings, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the mosque’s developers as defendants.

In the motion on Tuesday, Mr. Brown’s lawyers accused Mr. Bloomberg of failing to respond “in a timely manner” to a public-records request that they said would prove the substance of their lawsuit.
The suit wont stop the project, and I consider the suit to be lacking on substance. The LPC heard evidence from proponents and opponents to the siting of the community center and its design and came away with finding that the building was not worthy of being landmarked. That reinforced a decision several years ago that found that the building was not worthy of landmarking.

On that basis, there's no reason to believe that the LPC was being arbitrary or capricious in denying the landmarking status to the building that allowed developers go ahead with the project (subject to finding financing).

This suit is nothing more than a fishing expedition and Brown and his backers are hoping that some possible shred of evidence will come out that supports their contentions.

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