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Sierra Club Joins Campaign to Save Palisades Again

Date : Wed, 24 Jul 2013 11:36:39 -0400

For Immediate Release

July 24, 2013

Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Sierra Club Joins Campaign to Save Palisades Again

The New Jersey Palisades, one of the most important open spaces in one of the most densely populated areas in the country, would be impacted by a new towering corporate headquarters. A viewshed that has stood for more than a century is now threatenedLG Electronics USA Inc. has proposed a 143 foot office tower in Englewood Cliffs, making it the only high rise north of Fort Lee that could be seen from New York City.Palisades Interstate Park Commission was formed in 1900 to protect the Palisades and the views they provide.Teddy Roosevelt was the New York Governor and was a good friend of John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club, and together they saved Yosemite.One of things that Roosevelt learned from Muir was the importance of having open space and wild places for people to enjoy.The Palisades has been an oasis in one of the most densely populated places.The viewsheds and their protection are critically important for the public to enjoy not just from New York looking at the park but for the people of New Jersey who enjoy the Palisades for a natural experience for hiking and overlooks. The LG proposal would undermine centuries of preservation efforts dating back to the late 1800's and the struggle of many to protect this scenic viewshed.The project is being challenged by a number of environmental and community groups on both sides of the Hudson River, opposed to the height of the proposed building.Sierra Club has joined the campaign and has had a long history of working with these groups to protect Sterling Forest and many other important places and now we are working to save the Palisades again.

"The Palisades are unique.There is nothing else like them.By allowing the LG project to move forward at the current proposed height we are jeopardizing our open space and the stunning views.Our members have been fighting for decades to protect the Palisades and prevent inappropriate development and this project would destroy all those efforts.This project must be redesigned to preserve the Palisades for future generation," said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club. "You would not be sticking this kind of tower next to Yosemite."This is one of those places where people can go and still feel close to nature and hike and walk and see all kinds of wildlife.It is truly an oasis in one of the most densely populated areas in the country.This tower would ruin the experience in the Park, not just the view from New York."

There are alternatives to the project.The site could be resigned to not rise above the tree line as the previous site did.Or if they want a high rise they can move down to Fort Lee.The company has received a variance from Englewood Cliffs, which has a 35 ft limit on buildings.That variance is being challenged in the courts by environmental groups.LG is refusing to redesign and scale back the height of the tower because it does not want to go through the state and municipal approval process a second time.

"Once the project is built we cannot go back and we could see other companies coming in to build new projects," said Jeff Tittel."We could see this area turn into another Fort Lee."

This proposed project underscores the need to better protect the Palisades region to prevent future inappropriate proposals.A bill before the New Jersey Legislature S2016 (Stack) the "Save the Hudson River Palisades Act" would prohibit cutting into and future development on the Palisades except for public and linear development projects such as utility and gas lines. The bill was approved by the Senate Environment Committee in June 2012 but has failed to move since that time.Under the bill the Palisades Interstate Park Commission would develop and adopt rules to set buffers to protect the cliffs and prevent further inappropriate development.These protections are especially important as some of the latest projects on the Palisades have been designed as an excuse to quarry the cliffs and use the rocks for other purposes.

"We need the Legislature to act on this bill as we see the Palisades being targeted for more and more inappropriate projects," said Jeff Tittel.

Kate Millsaps
Conservation Program Coordinator
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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Received on 2013-07-24 08:36:39

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