Residents Win Battle to Stop City's Planned Summons Court in TriBeCa

By Irene Plagianos on December 12, 2013 9:34am 

 The city proposed a controversial summons court for the 40 Worth St. building, which has an entrace at 71 Thomas Street.
The city proposed a controversial summons court for the 40 Worth St. building, which has an entrace at 71 Thomas Street.
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DNAinfo/Irene Plagianos

TRIBECA — The city has nixed its controversial plan to move a summons court to TriBeCa, following intense community pushback.

The city is withdrawing its proposal to move the low-level criminal court to narrow, residential Thomas Street from its current 346 Broadway location as part of a settlement agreement with residents and business owners who sued the city over the move, the plaintiffs and the city said Wednesday.

Under the settlement, the city said it would not move the summons court — which deals with offenses including littering, disorderly conduct and marijuana possession — to 71 Thomas St. for at least five years if residents dismissed their suit.

Angry residents sued the city last month, fearing that the court, which would draw about 600 people daily who are paying or challenging court fines, would disrupt and endanger their neighborhood, as crowds lined up on the small block.

"We are very pleased that this neighborhood is now free from the threat of the early morning and constant lines of people that now surround 346 Broadway," said the plaintiffs' lawyer, Richard Emery. "That was the goal of this lawsuit and it has been achieved."

The summons court move is part of a larger reorganization plan for Lower Manhattan’s courts — the city is selling the 346 Broadway building, and officials still must find a home for several city agencies and courts, including the summons court.

Chris Roe, senior counsel in the city's Law Department, did not say why the city decided to withdraw the plan, or where the city plans to move the summons court now.

"We are completing plans to move it to another site and will announce it at a later date," Roe said in an emailed statement.

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