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Scores Turn Out To Bash, Defend LG's Palisades-Topping HQ

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Last night, the battle over the appropriateness of the height of LG's headquarters in the Palisades raged on in Englewood Cliffs. Despite the pouring rain, hundreds of community members from across New York and New Jersey flooded the auditorium of a local high school to testify in front of the Planning Board. Up for vote was a proposed change to the master plan of the community, which, most significantly, would alter its zoning, allowing for more buildings of similar height to LG's headquarters. (That building is set to rise 143 feet.) LG has already earned a variance to build that high, but at issue is whether other developments can join it and peek above the verdant, heretofore-unmarred Palisades. But as the hearing approached 11 p.m., and the board members became bored (or at least tired) members, it was clear that any vote would have to be postponed. The date for a vote has not been decided yet.

At the prolonged meeting, drama abounded. The atmosphere was much like high school, perhaps even like the one the meeting was in. On the one side was the pro-environment camp (the nerds?), sporting attire like cable-knit sweaters and tortoise-shell glasses. On the other side were the union workers (the jocks?), who donned their affiliations on their backs just like letterman jackets.

Union members touted the benefits of job creation and the positive model that an LEED-certified building will provide for future developments in New Jersey (the LG building is expected to receive platinum status). On the other hand, conservationists appealed to aesthetic sensibilities and environmental impact, as well as the historical, local, and national contexts of the Palisades as a natural landmark.

The impassioned rhetoric displayed at the hearing was impressive. Here now, some of the best zingers:

"We are here today because you do not zone first, give variances first, and then try to justify it all by changing your master plan." - Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club

"What about the 425-foot communication tower atop the Palisades by Alpine that looks like a double-crossed T, or half of King Kong's clothesline when he did the laundry up there." - Martin Wymbs, Sheet Metal Local 25

"Disregard of how the LG building or future high-rises will appear from the river or across it is not only inconsiderate, it is un-American." - Carol Hoernlein, former Civil Engineer for the Palisades Interstate Park Commission

"There's been a lot of talk about views, and we're kind of leaning towards one view, and that's coming from NYC. We don't look to New York say, 'Hey listen, when the Indians were here we used to see the sunrise.'" - Tom Ramsay, Business Agent, Laborers Local 3

"Tens of thousands of acres of land were purchased and donated by New York and New Yorkers on the basis of promise and trust." - Adriano Espaillat, New York State Senate, 31st District

"What about the view of my supporters who look out their window for that black limo coming up. It's to go to the funeral of a family member that committed suicide due the pressures of having no work." - Tom Ramsay, Business Agent, Laborers Local 3

To top it all off, one New Jerseyian in opposition to the LG building actually starting singing "America the Beautiful." He was escorted out.
—Evan Reeves
· Group Formally Pans View-Marring LG Palisades Headquarters [Curbed]
· All Palisades coverage [Curbed]