PRESS RELEASE: Governors Island Rezoning Challenge in Court Aug 2, 2022 – New Digital Visualizations Gallery


Metro Area Governors Island Coalition (M.A.G.I.C.)
MEDIA CONTACT: Roger Manning
PRESS RELEASE: Governors Island Rezoning Challenge in Court Aug 2, 2022 – New Digital Visualizations Gallery
A virtual New York State Supreme Court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday Aug 2, 2022 11:30am – 12pm for the Article 78 Lawsuit file against the 2021 Governors Island rezoning. The lawsuit based on Deed violations was filed pro se in September 2021 by long time lower Manhattan resident, Governors Island regular and co-founder of Metro Area Governors Island Coalition (M.A.G.I.C.) Roger Manning. An amended petition adding SEQR (environmental) elements was filed in February 2022 by Attorney Richard Lippes. The City Club of New York filed a excellent Amicus Brief in support on July 25, 2022.
The lawsuit aims to nullify a rezoning that is a gateway to severely compromising a unique public space resource, “our country place in the city”,  that New Yorkers from all the city’s zip codes currently enjoy and millions more don’t even know they have.
The case: 158809/2021 Roger Manning v. City Council Of The City Of New York et alTo attend (via Microsoft Teams) request an invitation from Steven Carney at .See the Lawsuit Overview Below.
New Digital Visualizations Gallery
There is a newly posted Governors Island Before and After Digital Visualizations gallery produced by the Environmental Simulation Center using a 3D modeling application developed by George Janes Associates. The visualizations, mostly from the Governors Island historic district, are based on development height and density allowed by the 2021 rezoning.
See it here (High resolution version upon request.):
Lawsuit Overview

The Lawsuit claims:

1) The City’s approval of a rezoning that is in violation of the Governors Island Deed in its attempt to alter the function of NYC’s unique green urban refuge by allowing high-rise, high density private development was arbitrary and capricious. The Deed was established to “ensure the protection and preservation of the natural, cultural and historic qualities of Governors Island,” so that the Island would serve as “an educational and civic resource of special historic character and as a recreational and open space resource” – not provide a blank canvas for developers or a cash cow for the City’s economic engine.

2) The City’s Environmental Impact Statement attached to the 2021 rezoning is inadequate .

From the 7/25/22 City Club of New York amicus brief:

– It is arbitrary and capricious for the City to turn around and adopt zoning that, while it may further laudable City economic development objectives, negates those same Deed restrictions. Yet that is what has happened here.
– Goals, that the City claims are primary, are nowhere to be found in the Deed.
– The Rezoning Violates the Deed’s Requirement That at Least 40 Acres Be Dedicated as Public Parkland, and Also Violates the Public Trust Doctrine.  
– The new zoning states outright that permitted uses in the Open Space Subareas may include not only “public parks,” but also “private parks,” without limitation.
– The New Zoning Allows Industrial and Manufacturing Uses That the Deed Explicitly Prohibits.

Also from the Lawsuit:
   The rezoning undermines the island’s primary benefit to everyday New Yorkers from all boroughs as a uniquely welcoming natural spacious urban refuge and area for and arts and education by:
    (a) Allowing high-rise (225ft plus) high density (3,775,000M sq ft across 34 acres) development on an island of completely low-rise structures (historic and other), vast open green spaces, and countless mature trees.
    (b) Creating parking for 200 vehicles on a traffic free island.
    (c) Allowing displacement of a thriving urban farm and other environmental projects.
     (d) Boxing in and casting shadows on the open space subarea (current south island parkland), historic district, and Urban Assembly New York Harbor School with high-rise development.
    (e) Allowing building heights rising to 3 times the height of and blocking views from the south island’s 70 ft “Outlook Hill.”
    (f) Including no provisions regarding architectural style.
    (g) Allowing structures to cover 20% of the open space subarea (current parkland).

– Metro Area Governors Island Coalition (M.A.G.I.C.):
– The lawsuit:
– Legal fund:
– New Sim Center Comparison gallery: