BY HEATHER J. CHIN AND LINDSEY RIBACK
Residents in the fight to halt and permanently relocate construction of new Brighton Beach comfort stations above the beach in front of a residential area that did not undergo prior environmental review can celebrate a “preliminary victory,” said Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz.
Cymbrowitz, whose 45th District constituents at the Oceana condos have been protesting the construction since it began this spring/summer, announced on Tuesday, September 3, that a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge had signed a preliminary injunction, halting construction pending an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) by the city.
The city can appeal the injunction. If it does, then it wouldn’t have to halt anything until the appeal is resolved.
However, construction has already been stalled, at least temporarily, since late May, when construction pilings—the long poles that would elevate the comfort stations above the beach—hit impenetrable bedrock.
The original intended completion date was May 25, 2013.
“Beach bullies seldom have a fan club and the same goes for city agencies that fail to listen to the people they serve, fail to conduct an environmental review before moving forward, and fail to change course even when their mistakes have become apparent,” said Cymbrowitz.
“It’s been a disaster from day one,” added Adrienne Knoll, spokesperson for Cymbrowitz. “When Oceana was built [from 2001-2010], the original agreement was that nothing would be placed between them and the beach. So by putting these bathrooms there in the first place, it violated the agreement.”
In late July, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer also joined the fight, echoing residents’ concerns that the elevated comfort stations—commissioned after Superstorm Sandy destroyed the previous buildings—were specifically designed to fall apart during a storm.
Schumer urged City Parks Commissioner Veronica White to relocate the elevated comfort stations away from the Oceana condominiums. The main issue at hand is quality of life; he believes that, in the event of a storm, the stations could potentially break and destroy commercial or residential buildings, as well as injure residents. Relocating the stations would prevent future storm destruction and save the lives of Brooklynites.
“Senator Schumer is correct that the resiliency of our coastline infrastructure is important, and so are the quality of life and safety issues,” stated Cymbrowitz. “We both agree that Brighton Beach residents deserve a voice in this process.”
Beachgoers and residents are encouraged to use the temporary bathrooms at Coney Island and Brighton Beach Avenues.