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Posted: 2015-07-04 04:00:00

More than four years ago, LG Electronics USA released plans to build a new headquarters that would have marred the natural vistas along New Jersey’s Palisades Park, which runs along the west side of the Hudson River just across from New York City.

The unsightly office tower would have been an intrusion in the panorama of natural basalt cliffs that New Jersey and New York have agreed to protect for over a century. And it would have been a terrible precedent, an invitation to other developers to clutter the landscape along the river in the future.

After months of negotiations with environmentalists, residents and many of the region’s politicians, LG executives announced last month that they had finished a redesign with a lower structure for their Englewood Cliffs site. Instead of towering over the tree line along the Palisades Parkway, the building would merely peek above the greenery on one edge, a far better solution. This is a victory for preservationists, nature lovers, residents of New York and New Jersey, and especially LG Electronics.

LG and its original plan for a 143-foot-tall tower have faced steadily growing opposition since early 2012, when local officials in Englewood Cliffs quietly approved a variance in zoning that traditionally limited buildings to a height of 35 feet. Four former New Jersey governors — two Democrats and two Republicans — came out against the design. Residents also sued, gaining the support of Scenic Hudson, the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Natural Resources Defense Council and numerous elected officials. The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service added their opposition, and the organization that determines which buildings get a coveted LEED rating as a green structure expressed concern.

For decades, the Palisades have remained a rare and largely undisturbed natural haven amid the hustle and human density around New York City. This compromise keeps LG in the area while preserving an irreplaceable natural resource. As Mark Izeman of the Natural Resources Defense Council wrote on his blog, the new design would “protect the magnificent vistas of the historic Palisades Park while supporting the local economy.”

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