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Thread: 9/11 Families To Sue To Stop New WTC

  1. #1

    Default 9/11 Families To Sue To Stop New WTC

    By Katia Hetter
    Staff Writer

    May 30, 2003, 12:10 AM EDT


    A group of Sept. 11 victims' families wants the newest World Trade Center site plans to be declared "illegal, null and void," a danger to lower Manhattan and future rescue workers, according to the draft of a lawsuit against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and others.

    Although the Port Authority has enjoyed immunity from local fire and building safety codes, the lawsuit asks that the agency be ordered to follow those regulations in the redevelopment of Ground Zero. The suit they plan to file Monday claims the agency's role as a commercial landlord isn't protected under the two-state agency's immunity from local codes.

    "A government agency that operates a commercial office building should be held to the same standards as the private sector," said attorney Thomas Shanahan, lead attorney on the lawsuit. "There is no reason for immunity to be attached to a commercial landlord. The Port should have no problem with that because they say they meet or exceed the code already."

    The lawsuit, to be filed by the Skyscraper Safety Campaign families group, Councilman Alan Gerson (D-Lower Manhattan) and Councilwoman Helen Sears (D-Jackson Heights), doesn't ask for any money beyond legal fees. "If you build in the city of New York, you should be in compliance with the building regulations," Sears said. "When you don't have to do it, there's something wrong."

    But the lawsuit does seek to require that the redevelopment plans be approved by the New York and New Jersey state legislatures and the New York City Council, and includes other Port Authority commercial buildings such as 111 8th Ave., in the court order.

    A Port Authority spokesman declined to comment on the proposed lawsuit, which is also being filed against the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., trade center leaseholder Silverstein Properties, trade center retail leaseholder Westfield Group, Marriott Hotel Services, trade center architecture firm Studio Daniel Libeskind and Brookfield Properties.

    "The Port Authority's policy is that we do not comment on pending litigation," said Port Authority spokesman Greg Trevor, who had not yet seen the complaint. He said the Port Authority is committed to meeting or exceeding all city building and fire codes under existing agreement with the city.

    The agency can't prove it is meeting or exceeding local code requirements, says Skyscraper Safety Campaign chairwoman Sally Regenhard, who lost her firefighter son, Christian, in the attacks.

    "There is no documentation of inspections, the Port Authority doesn't allow the FDNY in [to inspect], so the codes are not enforced even if they do follow them voluntarily," Regenhard said. "That building was a death trap. If we allow the Port Authority to build again with the same immunity to building and fire codes, who's to say they won't build another death trap?"

    ----------------------

    NY is such a nasty, litigious, selfish, combative place sometimes.

  2. #2

    Default 9/11 Families To Sue To Stop New WTC

    The victims families do have a point in this lawsuit. *The PA should have to constuct its builidngs according to the city's fire and building safety codes. *I would have thought that the city would have made some changes, because of the weakness in the WTC's fire resistant insulation. *

  3. #3

    Default 9/11 Families To Sue To Stop New WTC

    Yeah, Im sure their really going to go against the books...

  4. #4

    Default 9/11 Families To Sue To Stop New WTC

    The issue is not whether or not the PA will follow the codes. *It is really about 1) getting some lawyers paid, and 2) introducing a new level of bureaucracy over the project plans. *For both of these reasons, I am vehemently against the lawsuit.

  5. #5

    Default 9/11 Families To Sue To Stop New WTC

    These people are zealots. It's clear that they want nothing less than a 16-acre memorial, and now some of them are carrying out their long-term threat to try to hijack the site! :angry: No wonder the politicians and developers involved were so cowardly; they were rightfully fearful of this, it turns out. Need I say more?

  6. #6

    Default 9/11 Families To Sue To Stop New WTC

    The PA should have to constuct its builidngs according to the city's fire and building safety codes.
    Evan is right.

  7. #7

    Default 9/11 Families To Sue To Stop New WTC

    Evan is right, but what makes these family members think the PA isn't going to? Silverstein's planned 7 WTC is already going beyond the city's own fire and safety codes. *I'm sure they are all aware of this.

    I agree with agglomeration. *This group will stop at nothing to try and stop the rebuilding. *Once this attempt fails (and it will), they'll be on to the next plan.

    (Edited by NYguy at 1:37 pm on May 30, 2003)

  8. #8

    Default 9/11 Families To Sue To Stop New WTC

    I also agree with Evan. Stating what this group ultimately wants is speculation. The PA stating they will meet or exheed NYC building codes is ambigous.

    I see no problem with having what the PA intends to do codified.

  9. #9

    Default 9/11 Families To Sue To Stop New WTC

    IMO, the group that is actually bringing the lawsuit has an agenda against any and all tall buildings thinly veiled as a safety issue. They place particular emphasis on the safety of firefighters as being a prime force behind how buildings should be built.

    These people are not mega-memorialist but rather would just like to see a bunch of 20 story "safe" buildings that wouldn't endanger any firefighter's life.

    It is a typical reaction people have to loss. One way of healing is to push for laws that would eliminate the possibility of such a death ever happening again.

    http://www.skyscrapersafety.org/

    In the end run, we all better hope they do not win or it will basically be legally impossible for any building in the city to be built taller than how ever many floors the court decides is allowable so as not to endanger any firefighters. As you can imagine, that isn't likely to be very tall.

    Finally, I simply cannot imagine what the low-income housing advocates that are the city council and who recently hosted (and paid for) a trip to NY by Robert Mugabe would envision a new WTC. A bunch of small time city councilmen and state legislators sounds like the worst possible choice to be put in the drivers seat on the site.

    (Edited by JMGarcia at 3:27 pm on May 30, 2003)

  10. #10

    Default 9/11 Families To Sue To Stop New WTC

    I'm sure this lawsuit will start turning people against Osama Bin Iken and the other NIMBY's by showing them for what they are, hopefully helping our case, but their determination to destroy Lower Manhattan with a depressing 16-acre memorial all the way down to bedrock has to be taken seriously.

    And the fact that some of them are calling for all future buildings to be limited to 20 floors becuase of the fear of losing firemen is absolutely revolting.:angry: Sally Blowhard is the very worst of them it turns out. We ought to to remain vigilant; we haven't seen the last of these mega-memorialists turned skyscraper haters.

  11. #11

    Default 9/11 Families To Sue To Stop New WTC

    HAVE THE TERRORISTS WON?

  12. #12

    Default 9/11 Families To Sue To Stop New WTC

    Quote: from Agglomeration on 12:27 pm on May 30, 2003
    These people are zealots. It's clear that they want nothing less than a 16-acre memorial, and now some of them are carrying out their long-term threat to try to hijack the site! :angry: No wonder the politicians and developers involved were so cowardly; they were rightfully fearful of this, it turns out. Need I say more?
    I think your right. Man you just got to hate that. I don't mean to offend the family members of the victems, but they are sort of overreacting. First it was asking for more memorial space and the presevation of the footprints of the old WTC. Now this lawsuit, although if the construction companies weren't going to comply with the fire and building safety laws then they really have a point. *

  13. #13

    Default 9/11 Families To Sue To Stop New WTC

    I wish more of you guys had made it to that Pelli/Pederson presentation by the Skyscraper Museum.

    Putting aside whatever the motivations of this group are, I wish the new WTC was built to significantly stronger standards Pederson was describing when he was talking about Union Square HK and SWFC. I don't have time to get into it right now, but here are some references to the most important idea he presented, refuge floors.

    Here is an excerpt from an interview I found with him online.

    PEDERSEN: Les is correct; there's nothing that can be done about airplanes colliding into buildings. Even if we knew how, it would be too expensive. That said, there are things you can do about safety, and, again, Asia is the place to look, because they understand the importance of high density. There, tall buildings are divided every 10 or 15 floors with refuge floors where people can retreat to in case of a fire or an emergency and have access to fresh air.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CTSOS/message/81

    Another interesting excerpt from a professor at HK's city university:

    He believes that an essential feature of fire escape lifts is that they should only stop at refuge floors. Refuge floors are location points where people are required to gather in the event of a fire and since 1996, super high-rise buildings have been required by law to provide refuge floors at 15 to 20 storey intervals under the Hong Kong Code of Practice on Means of Escape in Case of Fire. By reducing the number of stops, the elevators can travel between refuge floors and the ground much faster because certain time-delay factors have been removed: acceleration and deceleration between stops, transfer time of passengers into/ out of lifts, and opening/ closing doors. A reduction in the number of stops will reduce the round trip time to an average of 40 seconds. The round trip time is the time needed for the lift moving at, for example, 10 metres per second to travel to a specified refuge floor, collect evacuees and return to the ground floor. Since trips to the top floors will take longer than trips to the lower floors, an average time of 40 seconds is a feasible target. This means that if each lift carries 20 people, approximately 900 people can be evacuated in 30 minutes. Theoretically, with four lifts in operation at each corner of the building, about 3,600 people escape in half an hour.
    http://www.cityu.edu.hk/cityutoday/n...0020401_33.htm

    I don't see any reason why these extra steps should not be taken.

  14. #14

    Default 9/11 Families To Sue To Stop New WTC

    since 1996, super high-rise buildings have been required by law to provide refuge floors at 15 to 20 storey intervals under the Hong Kong Code of Practice on Means of Escape in Case of Fire.

    HK ahead of NY ?!

  15. #15

    Default 9/11 Families To Sue To Stop New WTC

    It'll be interesting to see if a court even grants standing to sue in this case. *How are these people impacted by the rebuilding? *Unless there's some cognizable injury, I just can't see this lawsuit holding up.

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