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Former governors defend Palisades


Four former New Jersey governors are again urging LG Electronics to recognize the lasting harm its proposed 143-foot office tower would cause to the Palisades, a national natural and historic landmark.

In a New York Times op-ed, Governors Brendan Byrne, Thomas Kean, James Florio and Christine Todd Whitman called on LG to respect the Palisades and build wide instead of high on its Englewood Cliffs property. They said the company could gain the same amount of office space and create the same number of jobs using a low-rise plan.

The four governors - who last year asked LG's CEO to consider a low-rise 'win-win' alternative - contradicted LG's claims that the tower would barely peek above the tree lineand would achieve a high energy-efficiency rating only if built tall.

They called on LG to recognize that its massive complex would rise 80 feet above the tree line and be starkly visiblefrom all directions, including the adjacent Palisades Parkway. The four governors noted that LG's own architect had admitted in hearings that the company could take the entire building and put it on its side.Rather than build horizontally, LG's architect said the company decided to go up vertically because they wanted to take advantage of the beauty of the site, the views of the site.

In other words, the governors observed, LG would take the Palisades' natural beauty and unspoiled views, which belong to the public, for its own private benefit.

In the New York Times op-ed, the four governors expressed hope that LG will do the right thingand choose a low-rise alternative. The solution is clear: build out rather than up, generate jobs and economic stimulus while conserving the area's scenic beauty,they added. The building can be re-designed. The Palisades and the Hudson River cannot.

In their June 2013 letter to LG, the four governors had warned that construction of the planned 143-foot tower - four times higher than any other building in Englewood Cliffs - would damage parkland and a national landmark, destroy historic scenic vistas of the Palisades, and would set a precedent that would enable additional high-rise development to spread for miles north of the George Washington Bridge.

Michele S. Byers, Executive Director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation, thanked the governors for continuing to advocate for the Palisades. Governors Byrne, Kean, Florio and Whitman have really stepped up and taken a leadership role to protect the Palisades,she said.
These four former governors know New Jersey better than anyone, and they know what will be lost if the LG headquarters were to be built as currently proposed,Byers added.

The four governors are not alone in asking for a low-rise alternative. The mayors of six nearby towns, the regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the director of the National Park Service all have expressed similar opinions.

New Jersey Conservation Foundation is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve land and natural resources throughout New Jersey for the benefit of all. Since 1960, the Foundation has helped preserve 125,000 acres of open space and farmland. For more information on the foundation's programs and preserves, visit or call 1-888-LAND-SAVE (1-888-526-3728).

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