City Island residents who say they have had no say in a decade-long process to design and build a new bridge in their community fought back Wednesday night by voicing their opposition at a public hearing that was not meant to address the issue. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Many people who call City Island home say the city steamrolled the design process for a new bridge into their neighborhood.
"There's been misleading statement after misleading statement on this bridge, false claims of support, which they used to get their past permits," said John Doyle, a City Island Civic Association board member.
On Wednesday night they voiced their opposition at a public meeting called not to discuss the bridge design itself, but a proposal to transfer park land and make other changes that would help clear the way for construction.
"This is the opportunity to tell the state to go back to the drawing board. This is your opportunity to tell the city to redesign the bridge," said State Senator Jeffrey Klein.
Residents have long fought to scrap the plan for a 150 foot high bridge they say is too tall and called for public hearings or dialogue with the city's Department of Transportation.
The DOT said it did not have to consult the community but earlier this month a judge ordered a full land use review which requires public hearings.
At Wednesday night's hearing, Community Board 10 voted to reject the land use application.
"We voted against it because City Island and their community, which is part of our district, were not happy with the process," said Community Board 10 Chairman John Mirano. "We feel it's our turn to stand up."
A DOT spokesman told NY1 off camera the vote has no effect on the design but bridge opponents think otherwise.
"Tonight's vote was important because the vote is for an easement that's needed for a temporary bridge," said Doyle. "Say they don't get the easement, they're going to have to keep coming back and not only that but they're going to eventually have to compromise on the design of this bridge."
The Bronx borough president, City Planning and the City Council still have to weigh in, but residents say area politicians back their drive to defeat the bridge plan.
Right now, they say, they are cautiously optimistic that a new bridge design is in their future.