Congressman Hakeem Jeffries is the latest elected official to enter the fray over the new bathrooms slated for the Riegelmann Boardwalk in Brighton Beach, which residents of the Oceana condominium complex have vocally opposed.
Jeffries is on the boardwalk today holding a press conference, calling for the Parks Department to forever abandon its plans to place the bathrooms in Brighton Beach, officially dubbed the New Brighton Comfort Station. That would leave the next nearest public restroom on the boardwalk more than seven blocks away.
Oceana residents opposed the placement of the bathrooms, saying the 20-foot-tall structure would impede their oceanfront views, attract drug dealing gangbangers, and create a bad scent.
Jeffries joins Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and Senator Charles Schumer in siding with Oceana residents. It was also an issue in the recent City Council race, where opposition was embraced by candidates including David Storobin and Ari Kagan.
The last we checked in on the story, city officials suffered a setback when a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge ordered that the agency produce an environmental impact study and scoping process, which includes a public hearing that will take place tonight (details below).
None of the other three comfort station on the Brighton Beach – Coney Island boardwalk, nor any of the other 10 locations throughout New York City, are being subjected to the same process. That’s because the type of project doesn’t typically trigger the state requirement for an environmental impact statement when building in a coastal erosion hazard area – a requirement that, somewhat ironically, Cymbrowitz had sought to strike down for all future projects. He said these bathrooms changed his mind.
The Parks Department released their draft scope statement for the environmental study a few weeks ago. In it, they unsurprisingly determined that the proposed comfort station would have no significant impact on a slew of areas, including socioeconomic conditions, community facilities and services, waste and sanitation services, energy, air quality, public health and more. In fact, they found that it provided benefit in some of these areas.
Due to the court case, the statement says, the agency will also assess the comfort station’s impact on several additional areas, including urban design and visual resources, natural resources, neighborhood character and hazardous materials. Tonight’s meeting is an opportunity for the public to comment on the scope of the study.
If you have thoughts about the comfort station and its impact on the community, whether for or against, attend tonight’s public hearing at the Shorefront YM-YWHA (3300 Coney Island Avenue) from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
UPDATE (3:06 p.m.): Moments after publishing this piece, the following flier landed in my inbox. Apparently this is being distributed around Oceana.