NEW YORK, NY— Trying to rush forward with Forest City
Ratner’s “Atlantic Yards” development proposal during the last days of
the Pataki administration the Empire State Development Corporation today
certified the public release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement
(FEIS)now the official accounting of negative environmental impacts of
the 8 million square foot development proposal.
Jeffrey Baker, attorney for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB, the coalition leading the opposition to "Atlantic Yards") said, "Upon our initial review this appears to be a fatally flawed Environmental Impact Statement that has failed to consider reasonable alternatives and has not responded to the detailed substantive comments from the public and experts. As we dig into the FEIS we expect to find that it fails to accurately consider the very real adverse impacts caused by the project and that the proposed mitigations are insufficient.
If this is to be the final description of the project, ESDC has failed in its responsibility to assure that adverse impacts have been properly avoided while also meeting legitimate community goals of housing and economic development, not Mr. Ratner's goals."
“We know that the ESDC will rubberstamp this project. So we call on the
Public Authorities Control Board to scrutinize ‘Atlantic Yards’its public
cost, its infrastructure and environmental impacts, its security issues,
its abuse of eminent domainas thoroughly as possible, and to postpone
any vote until after
eminent domain lawsuit
filed on October 26th is resolved in the courts,”
said DDDB spokesperson Daniel Goldstein. “A major development of this
size--the largest proposed by a single developer in the history of New
York--must not be rammed through in the dying days of a lame duck Pataki
administration. The PACB should ensure that that does not happen.”
project has not been scaled back.
When announced in December
2003 it was 8 million square feet. The project described in the FEIS is
approximately the same size.
The FEIS revealed that the project sponsors now claim there will be space for only 1,300 office jobs. This is an 87% job reduction
from the 10,000 claimed at the proposal’s unveiling in December 2003, and nearly a 50% reduction from July 2006 when the Draft Environmental Impact Statement was released
Of great concern to everyone is the impact that 17,000 new residents and 20,000 arena visitors for 235 arena events per year would have on traffic in an area of Brooklyn that already has a major traffic crisis. There appears to be no serious traffic mitigations in the document
The FEIS has ignored serious
concerns about security and terrorism as they relate to the unique
design, use and location of the proposed project
. The ESDC, NYPD and
NYFD have yet to give a responsible answer to serious questions about
the safety of the project and the cost of ensuring safety.
The document does announce that a new school would be built in Phase 2
of the project. It took public comments to convince the developer and
the state that a new school would be needed to deal with the influx of
approximately 17,000 new residents. Unfortunately there is a shortfall
of about 1,100 seats
. Additionally the developer should pay for the
new school; instead the city would pay, which is an additional public
subsidy to a project that already would cost the public at
least $2 billion