Council pushes LG to protect Palisades


A new city council resolution is calling on Englewood Cliffs, N.J. to reverse a decision permitting LG Electronics USA to build an eight-story headquarters that critics in Riverdale and elsewhere say will ruin views of the Palisades and pave the way for other large buildings to go up along the scenic cliffs.

Along with asking Englewood Cliffs to withdraw a zoning variance permitting the 143-foot headquarters to go up, the legislation, introduced May 29, asks LG to voluntarily redesign the building so it meets the area’s zoning standards. Those standards currently limit the height of buildings there to 35 feet.

“This vista has survived since the glaciers receded in the last ice age,” Councilman Andrew Cohen, who co-authored the resolution, said during a press conference at part of the College of Mount Saint Vincent overlooking the Palisades.

“I think it would be tragic if under our stewardship… the beautiful Palisades were marred by a tower by LG,” he added.

An LG spokesman rejected the resolution in a phone interview.

“With all due respect to New Yorkers, this is a New Jersey issue,” said John Taylor, vice president of communications for LG in the U.S. “We’re not feeling any additional pressure. We have our business pressure to move ahead to take occupancy in 2017, 2018.”

The resolution — also authored by Councilmen Ydanis Rodriguez of Upper Manhattan and Marble Hill and Mark Levine of Manhattan — was the latest in a series of legislative efforts aimed at blocking LG’s plans. Last month, two New Jersey state senators proposed a bill that would prohibit new buildings over 35 feet tall to go up within 2,000 feet of the Hudson River’s shore and from Fort Lee, N.J. through Englewood Cliffs. In New York, the state assembly passed a resolution urging New Jersey to block LG’s plans.

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As a West Bronx native, long-time Riverdalian, Chair of The Friends Of The Gould Memorial Library / Hall Of Fame For Great Americans National Historic Landmark at Bronx Community College, and member of the Board of Advisers of the Historic Districts Council/NYC and the Four Borough Neighborhood Alliance -- both of which organizations are members of the Protect The Palisades coalition -- I salute the paper for its continuing coverage of our efforts to undo the damage which the LG Corp and the town of Englewood Cliffs, NJ seek to do to themselves as well as to our beloved cliffs : but please note that this story, as reported, is not clear as to whether the NYC Council Resolution is, at this stage, merely proposed, or, rather, has been enacted.

Thank You for your attention to crucial detail !

Howard Charles Yourow, S.J.D.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hi Howard,

Mr. Cohen and his colleagues introduced the resolution on May 29. The same day, it was referred to the council's Committee on Environmental Protection, where it must pass before a full council vote.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mr. Taylor, your argument that the Palisades are a local issue is flat our wrong. When the Palisades were preserved, it was New York that put up the vast majority of the money to buy the land that you now wish to desecrate. New Jersey only put in $50,000 in 1900 to purchase the Palisades. New York allocated eight times that amount, $400,000.00, feeling that the investment would be a good way to preserve the natural appeal of the cliffs. A generation later, another New Yorker John D. Rockefeller purchased land atop the cliffs through shell corporations to prevent the type of visual ruin you now claim to have the right to exercise. Every municipality agreed, and your company bought the land knowing that to be the law. Your legal team then maneuvered its way into a shadowy agreement with the town, and those who seek to preserve the view shed are once again joining forces to stop, once and for all, this foolish effort.

Had New York (and New Yorker J.P. Morgan, who gave $125,000.00) not made that investment, the cliffs would look much like they do south of the GW Bridge. If the PIPC weren't an interstate commission, the decision would remain local. Its not local, never was, and has now become not just an interstate issue, but also a national and international one. LG will have to "Let Go" of this ill-conceived effort, and embrace what everyone else has, for a long, long time.

Saturday, June 21, 2014