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.