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About DDDB
Our coalition consists of 21 community organizations and there are 51 community organizations formally aligned in opposition to the Ratner plan.

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"Why should people get to see plans? This isn't a public project."
Bruce Ratner in Crain's Nov. 8, 2009

Cuomo Administration to Appeal Court Order to Re-examine Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact

Governor (Status) Cuomo and his new appointee heading the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), Kenneth Adams, have decided that the most responsible thing it can do for the public in reaction to a July court order to rationally examine the environmental impacts of the 25-year (at minimum) Atlantic Yards project is to...appeal that court order.

The ESDC, again, is acting solely on behalf of the developer Forest City Ratner while gifting the public (DDDB and BrooklynSpeaks foremostly) the present of having to fight off an appeal that shouldn't have been brought in the first place.

Oh, and all the local politicians had called on Adams and the Governor to comply with the court order.

Norman Oder reports:

ESDC, Forest City to appeal state court judge's ruling that requires Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement; legislators had asked state to comply with decision
Atlantic Yards Report

Does the impact of extended Atlantic Yards construction, which could last 25 years, need to be studied further?

No, say the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) and Forest City Ratner. They're appealing two decisions made by state Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman--strong criticisms of the state's processes--leading to 7/13/11 ruling and order that the ESDC conduct further environmental review, including a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS).

The defense argument, as described further below, is that it was "rational in all respects, and adequately supported by the record" for the state to assume a ten-year buildout and to assume that no significant adverse environmental impacts had not already been analyzed.

The question for the appellate court is whether, indeed, it was "rational"--not clear and convincing but simply "rational." That's a very low bar for a state agency to meet in an environmental review proceeding, which is why Friedman's rulings against the state were unusual.

The petitioners--in two combined cases--include civic groups organized by BrooklynSpeaks and Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB), as well as several individuals and local elected officials. The appeal decision was announced yesterday by BrooklynSpeaks, which in recent months has taken more of a leading role in the litigation.

Said Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, a member of BrooklynSpeaks:

The 2009 Atlantic Yards plan may have been negotiated under the previous administration, but the July court decision makes it Governor Cuomo’s problem now. We expected the Governor to follow through on his promises to reform State government, turn around delayed development at Atlantic Yards, and make this project work for Brooklyn and for New York State. Instead, it looks like he’s willing to continue to run interference for Forest City Ratner, and keep the community and its elected representatives tied up in court while Brooklynites wait for jobs and housing.
Note that the petitioners in this case, though they have supported what they consider better plans for jobs and housing at the Atlantic Yards site, have been primarily concerned about the impact of the project on the immediate communities.

Legislators had requested compliance

In letters posted yesterday by BrooklynSpeaks, local legislators who are plaintiffs in the case had unsuccessfully urged Kenneth Adams, President and CEO of the ESDC (aka Empire State Development) not to appeal the deicision.

One letter came from Assemblymembers Hakeem Jeffries and Joan Millman, and state Senators Velmanette Montgomery and Eric Adams. They wrote 8/12/11:
More than seven years have passed since Atlantic Yards’ announcement, and almost five years have passed since its original plan was approved. In that time, we have seen the promises of affordable housing and local jobs move nearly a generation into the future. Phase 1 of the 2009 MGPP is already more than a year behind schedule. The neighborhoods surrounding the project have experienced well-documented health and quality of life issues from project construction, and we remain concerned about even greater impacts from the following :
  • changes to the arena design that diminish or remove mitigations described in the FEIS which were intended to lessen the impact of siting an arena in a residential neighborhood;
  • the delay of more than a decade in creating open space planned for the project’s second phase; the space will instead be used for a surface parking lot that will increase traffic impacts, negatively effect air quality and decrease quality of life in the surrounding neighborhoods;
  • the developer’s commitment to build only a fraction of the affordable housing originally promised for the site, resulting in the construction of only slightly more units of affordable housing than have been displaced;
  • a net negative economic impact for the taxpayers of New York State and New York City resulting from an Atlantic Yards Arena ; and
  • a significant delay in the decking of the Vanderbilt rail yards, raising the likelihood that the project will fail to realize its goals of connecting Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, Boerum Hill and Park Slope and removing the blighting influence of the rail yards.
We therefore call on ESDC to accept the court’s order, and take immediate action to comply with it in good faith. We strongly urge you to take this opportunity to accelerate the delivery of promised public benefits, and to involve local communities and their elected officials to plan changes that reduce the impacts of extended Atlantic Yards construction.
Note that the state would surely dispute those contentions, arguing that the project, including the affordable housing commitments, will eventually get done. Still, the surface parking lot and arena design changes are clear.

(The New York City Independent Budget Office said the arena would be a direct loss to the city, not the state, but it would be a loss to the state were opportunity costs--foregone gains--calculated.)

Wrote Assemblyman Jim Brennan, who chairs the Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions (and thus oversees the ESDC), in a 7/15/11 letter:
I believe that it is in the interest of the whole Brooklyn community to comply with Judge Friedman’s order to proceed with a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement “assessing the environmental impacts of delay in Phase II construction” pursuant to the law as spelled out in the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

Related coverage...

Prospect Heights Patch, Order for Environmental Review of Atlantic Yards to be Contested

Brownstoner, Forest City, ESDC Appealing July Atlantic Yards Ruling




Posted: 9.14.11
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Eminent Domain Case
Goldstein et al v. ESDC
[All case files]

November 24, 2009
Court of Appeals
Ruling

[See ownership map]

EIS Lawsuit

DDDB et al v ESDC et al
Click for a summary of the lawsuit seeking to annul the review and approval the Atlantic Yards project.

Appeal briefs are here.

2/26/09
Appellate Divsion
Rules for ESDC
What would Atlantic Yards Look like?...
Photo Simulations
Before and After views from around the project footprint revealing the massive scale of the proposed luxury apartment and sports complex.

Click for
Screening Schedule
of
Isabel Hill's
"Atlantic Yards" documentary
Brooklyn Matters


Read a review
-----------------------
Atlantic Yards
would be
Instant
Gentrification
Click image to see why:


-No Land Grab.org

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