LG wins U.S. court battle over new HQ

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LG wins U.S. court battle over new HQ

A U.S. unit of LG Electronics won approval from a New Jersey court to build a $300 million headquarters over objections that it would ruin views of the Palisades, a 200-million-year-old chunk of rocky wilderness above the western shore of the Hudson River.

Superior Court Judge Alexander H. Carver III Friday dismissed two lawsuits challenging an approval by the Englewood Cliffs Zoning Board of Adjustment for a new North American headquarters for LG Electronics USA. LG, the world’s second-biggest television maker behind Samsung Electronics, wants a view of the famous New York City skyline.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, four former New Jersey governors and environmentalist Larry Rockefeller, a grandson of philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr., sought to stop the approval by the Englewood Cliffs Zoning Board of Adjustment. Carver ruled that the board didn’t exceed its authority in granting variances.

“The board found that LG had met the positive criteria requirements because the project promoted the general welfare by maintaining jobs, promoting green building design, providing adequate light, air and open space, providing energy efficiency and utilizing renewable energy sources,” according to the ruling in state court in Hackensack.

“The board’s determination that LG had satisfied the positive criteria required by statute to justify granting the variances sought is fully supported by the record, and is not arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable,” Carver ruled.

LG said Friday in a statement that the ruling clears the way for construction.

“LG was transparent, accountable and consultative in the process to achieve all necessary approvals for this project,” Wayne Park, president and chief executive officer of LG Electronics USA, said in the statement. “We listened carefully to the concerns of local residents and community groups, and we amended our plans to address those concerns.”

In a 2012 lawsuit, opponents said Englewood Cliffs wrongly approved a 143-foot tower in a borough that caps building height at 35 feet (10.6 meters). The complaint was filed by two county residents, Margo Moss and Jakob Franke, plus the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs and Scenic Hudson, a Poughkeepsie, New York-based preservation group.

On June 5, four former governors - Brendan Byrne, Jim Florio, Christie Whitman and Thomas H. Kean Sr. - signed a letter to Koo Bon-joon, co-vice chairman of LG, asking for a redesign.

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