Friday, June 25, 2010

Markowitz In End-Run Around Sound Permit Law In Asser Levy Park Concert Fight - Enlists Powerful "Friends"

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has enlisted the help of Mayor Bloomberg, City Council Member Peter Vallone and other Council  members to alter an existing law to allow his Asser Levy/Seaside Park Seaside Summer Concert series to continue.  A lawsuit was filed last week charging that Mr. Markowitz's concerts violate a city law which prohibits amplified sound within 500 feet of  of “a school, courthouse or church, during the hours of school,  court or worship."  Sea Breeze Jewish Center and Congregation Temple Beth Abraham are approximately 300 feet away.  Plaintiffs charge the concerts have been illegally held in Asser Levy/Seaside Park since its inception in 1991. (Asser Levy/Seaside Park Seaside Summer Concert Series -File Photo, July 16, 2009 © By Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click photo to enlarge. 


At the request of Mayor Bloomberg, the City Council is fast-tracking a bill that will ultimately allow Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s longtime Coney Island concert series to go on this summer after all, according to the New York Post.

The bill, sponsored by Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Astoria), would temporarily revise city law so that open-air bandshells, amphitheaters and stadiums could get permits to host concerts within 500 feet of houses of worship and schools.

This comes after two Brooklyn synagogues and their worshipers last week sued Markowitz and the city to stop his summer concerts that have been held at Asser Levy Park since 1991, saying they violates a city law prohibiting amplified sound within 500 feet of religious institutions when services are taking place.

It was part of their plan to halt Markowitz’s planned $64 million amphitheater at the park. Sea Breeze Jewish Center and Temple Beth Abraham are across the street from the existing bandshell at Asser Levy Park, and both say they host services daily.

The new regulations would be in effect for 90 days – so that Markowitz’s concerts aren’t disrupted this summer – with a permanent solution to be ironed out later, officials said.

"The new legislation is clearly designed to avoid complying with the existing law," said Geoffrey Croft of New York City Park Advocates, who has helped fight to save parkland to be lost through the amphitheater project.

 "It's a clear end run around the existing law," said Norman Siegel, the plaintiffs' lawyer, told the New York Daily News.  "It's disappointing that rather than comply, the city is trying to change the law," 

Al Turk, vice president of Temple Beth Abraham, urged the Council to reject the bill, which is scheduled for a hearing Friday and could be voted on as soon as next week.

"What city Councilman could vote for this in good consciense?" said Turk. "It's wrong. How could you have loud music interrupting synagogue services?...This not only affects synagogues, it will affect mosques, churches, libraries, and schools."

Read More:

New York Post - June 24,  2010 - By Rich Calder  

New York Daily News - June 24th 2010 - By Erin Durkin

The Brooklyn Paper - June 25,  2010  - By Joe Maniscalso

Bay Currents - June 25, 2010 -  By David J. Glenn

Bay Currents - June 25, 2010 -  By David J. Glenn

Bay Currents - June 25, 2010 -  By David J. Glenn

A Walk In the Park - June 17, 2010 - By Geoffrey Croft 

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