Atlantic Yards Case Starts in State Appeals Court Today

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Today’s the day that the State Appeals Court begins hearing oral arguments in Goldstein et al. v. Empire State Development Corporation; the case was already dismissed in Federal Court. In an exhaustive round-up on Friday, Atlantic Yards Report discusses some reasons why plaintiffs (nine renters and owners in the footprint whose homes, like the three at left above, have been targeted for seizure by eminent domain) have a shot at winning but concedes that “the new case has to be considered a long shot.” Eminent domain arguments aside, the post reminds us of what an untransparent, back-room deal the MTA deal was: First, the MTA announced it would sell to Ratner, then it went through the motions of issuing an RFP; when Extel Development bid $150 million for the Yards versus Ratner’s $50 million, the MTA gave it to Ratner anyway. Nice. Anyway, after Appeals Court hears both sides’ arguments today, it’s expected to take a couple of months to issue a decision.
Oral Argument in State ED Case Approaches [AY Report]
Photo by Tracy Collins and Enhanced by No Land Grab

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  • omg that little green house is cute as a button! also can someone give me a one sentence synopsis of what atlantic yards is all about? is it the same as the navy yards or is that totally something different.

    *r*

  • Such an original post (yawn)

  • I was referring to this thread, not pitbullnyc’s post.

  • nice screenname hahaha

    *r*

  • Rob – once again you show why we should just ignore your posts.

    There’s no one-sentence summary of Atlantic Yards – one of the most important and complicated development issues to hit Brooklyn in decades. I honestly can’t believe you’ve been on this blog this long and haven’t taken the time to figure this out.

    There are many resources on the web you can go to catch up on this issue. Why not spend some effort to educate yourself rather than have people spoonfeed you. This is why some people still insist that you’re a 16 year old. Go spend a couple of hours reading the Atlantic Yards Report.

    Congrats on finally going to prospect park. Next on your list: Go to a performance at BAM, stroll through the botanic gardins, try out the Brooklyn Museum of Arts, walk around downtown, basically try and leave the 5-block radius of your apt.

  • hermph. someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

    *r*

  • rob- AY is a humongous project that Ratner wants to build which will include a sports arena, and a number of huge apartment buildings, as well as some green space.

    Its very controversial because of its size, the eminent domain issue, the design and the way the MTA gave them the rights to build over the railyard for 50 million even though another developer offered 150 million for those rights. So add controversial financing to the list.

  • Actually Rob, I got a great night’s sleep last night. Best in a months really. I’m just tired of your intellectual laziness.

    Bxgirl – please don’t encourage this kind of behavior. If people keep spoonfeeding him, he’s never gonna actually make any effort to figure this stuff out himself.

  • bxgirl can spoon feed me all she wants. and ive never been told im intellectually lazy. tho i guess i see your point. next time ill just google.

    *r*

  • MMHTPH- Although there have been times I lose patience with rob I like that he isn’t afraid to ask questions and sees things with a fresh perspective. He’s got his own unique personality and its refreshing (if not a tad wearing in a harried mom sort of way :-).

    And its a blog- it’s not like anyone has to answer him if they don’t want to. Heaven knows I can get as pissy as anyone, but why insult people or do a character assassination simply because they asked a question? I don’t like it when its done to me- I’m sure you don’t like it when its done to you.

    ask away rob- and I loved your story about going to PP and watching the ducks. Sure you can always google, but I hope you never feel you can’t ask a question.

  • I don’t mean to discourage people from asking questions – I love that people ask questions. Lord knows that I’ve done my share of both answering and asking questions on this site.

    What bugs me is rob’s consistent pattern of asking people to explain complicated issues to him in one sentence. If a topic comes up on brownstoner that I don’t know enough about and am curious, first I google it and try to figure it out myself before bugging people about it. Asking people for help is something you do only after you’ve tried to help yourself- unless you’re a lazy,immature teenager. I’m not doing a character assasination simply because he asked a question. I’m expressing frustration based on a several-month consistent pattern of behavior.

    But whatever, if you want to deal with this crap – feel free. It looks like you and rob were made for eachother.

  • So who died and made you the resident lifestyle maven? If you feel the need to insult and bitch about how other people post why don’t you start your own blog and make it a members only?

    If you feel like being that way- feel free. Looks like you and your arrogant ass were made for each other.

  • Right bxgirl. Because I’m the only one who comments when there are inane posts. Please.

    I’m not allowed to tell someone to STFU when they annoy me? Says who? Looks like you were doing just that in your last post. Who died and maid you the arbiter of what people are allowed to post.

    I’m really just trying to point out to Rob that there a more effective, mature, and less selfish way of becoming an informed citizen than the way he’s been doing it. This isn’t really about you. Not sure why you feel the need to stick your nose in it. If Rob’s got a problem with my comment, I’m sure he’s able to respond himself with your mothering…

  • that should be made, not maid.

  • “Looks like you were doing just that in your last post. Who died and maid you the arbiter of what people are allowed to post.”

    Excuse me- that’s exactly what you’re doing, isn’t it? And you did it in a really insulting way. May I also point out that my first post was strictly to rob and I didn’t even refernece you. You are the one who told me not to encourage him and I replied to that. SO if anyone needs to not stick their nose in someone else’s convesation, it was you. Maybe a little reality check on your end?

    Let me also point out- again- this is a blog. You posted publicly and if you think you have a right to complain when someone else comments on it, you are more than a little naive. YOu had no problem insulting or being condescending to rob- and yet you think you have the qualifications to set an example to rob on how to be more effective, mature and less selfish? Right.

  • Those houses would look even less “blighted” if they’d used a pic from the summer when the windows are filled with cute flowerboxes.

    These houses are definitely a bit worn around the edges, but they add so much to the streetscape. I’ll be so sad if they get torn down.

    I think the apartment buildings to the right of this frame are in reality much more “blighted” looking. I’ve got my fingers crossed for them.

  • ennuiater –
    Agreed. These are pretty nice houses. The ones to the right always depressed me a little. But someone’s been renovating one of them over the past several months, and I’m trying to be optimistic that the “bones” of the houses are good enough that with a little TLC they can be nice. They remind me in a lot of ways of the houses just north of the old stone house in park slope. Of course Ratner already had his way and demolished the houses just to the left of this photo.

    bxgirl – thanks for reminding me that there are posters on this site even more annoying than rob.

  • was at oral arguments. good points made.

    #1

    one of the takeaways is that the ESDC doent feel that there has to be “substantive” public benefits. just “any” public benefits.

    basically, its ok to tke whatever you want as long as a single blade of grass is for public use. what a charade.

    #2

    also, an interesting mix point is that the slum clearance seems to have evaded state law by paying ratner to buy land, having him clear the buildings, demolishing and then condemning vacant land. i.e. no slum.

    “slum” clearance, however, requires that only low income housing be built.

    yet anothet charade.

  • hey p. heights what does “bones” mean in relation to your post? could you explain it to me in one sentence? i googled it and the first thing that came up was a tibia. :( sorry i couldnt resist.

    *r*

  • No problem rob. I respect the fact that at least you seem to have a sense of humor…

  • bkn4,

    Is that your take on what you thought the good points were, or what the judges responded to? Can you give any read on how the judges responded to each side?

  • MMHPH- I wonder what the heck the developer is doing to that one that’s being renovated. They’ve removed truckloads and truckloads of dirt and rocks from the basement. Wonder if this is going to be a condo conversion duplex type thing or rentals. I can’t imagine who would buy there with the view they’ve got of the scenic fire department and boarded up park.

    Either way, depending on how the court case goes I may not be living on this block past June. Walking past empty lots and construction mess every day is losing it’s appeal.

  • ennuiater – me too. the other day as i passed by, workers were dumping wheelbarrows full of wet concrete directly into the basement window.
    Also – the park won’t be boarded up for long. They are actually installing drainage and astro turf (to replace the concrete) for the soft ball fields.

  • and thanks for reminding me there are no posters on b’stoner who are bigger jerks than you.

  • slopefarm:

    i am am not a lawyer, but here are the basics as i saw them…

    the judges attacked both sides. the points i mentioned before seem to be what they were coalescing around. justice eng seeemed to cut the appellants to the quick early on. i dont know if what was said could counter that perceived leaning. and the first(of two) appellant lawyers didnt do the case any favors in presentation.

    spolino (sp?) seemed to have been very on top of the ramifications of leaning either way. i hope he realy evaluates what appears to be an end run around the state constitution.

    if the appeal fails, the esdc is more powerful than robert moses ever was in that nothing can ever be questioned according to their attorneys.

    especially their contention that no one has standing to challenge a property transfer by eminent domain/condemnation until the property has actually been transferred away from the initial owner. ever spot someone 20 points in a game to 21? michael jordan would be hard pressed to pull that one out.

    the appellants basic case was that the ESDC has to go thru the process again because they allocated slum-clearance dollars to non-low income housing. and once sent back they an correct whatever flaws they see.

    my fear is that an unenlightened judge will find for ratner solely because the opposition did not in their arguments make my second point well(if at all), that paying ratner directly and then condemning the vacant land skirts the slum clearance requirement that all housing be low income if it uses state dollars. it seems to be contrary to me that someone can evade a reqirement by giving a private developer $$ up front to “deal” with the slums and then condemn them with state money because they arent slums anymore since they were cleared by state money.

    i am sure that any number of bloggers will correct me, but thats how i saw it.

  • bkkn4life:

    The “any” public benefit bit is actually a result of the New London eminent domain case that the Supreme Court decided over the summer. The current standard for a legal taking is that 1) the legislature must merely intend that the taking will benefit the public and that 2) there is no longer any standard of what the benefit actually is.

  • P:

    i get your point(but dont agree) and hope that the justices also see thru the end run as i described above.

    there was a bit of chatter at the oral arguments about a reduction to absurdity of value to the public. they could take ANY property(yours, mine), state that one square inch was for public purposes and then let a private developer have unlimited profit with a rezoning because they “promised” one square inch for the public.

    this sucks enough to make a stink. the least i could do was to attend and report back.

  • bkn4life- I would be surprised if Ratner and friends haven’t done many behind the scenes deals.But “especially their contention that no one has standing to challenge a property transfer by eminent domain/condemnation until the property has actually been transferred away from the initial owner”- Can you explain a little more? Is the judge saying that eminet domain can’t be challenged until after the transfer is done?

  • “These houses are definitely a bit worn around the edges, but they add so much to the streetscape.”

    They’re DIRECTLY across from a Fire Department, and acors the street from (dump) Freddy’s Bar. Not the most attractive streetscape to begin with. The apartments to the right ARE in poor shape also, and have been for some time (I lived on this block betwen 1997-2001).

  • wasnt a judge. esdc lawyer.

    the crowd laughed at that one.

    fwiw i think the state and ratner were well aware of the constitutional requirement that no state $$ for sum clearance unless all housing is low income.

    thus the contorted set of actions that occurred.

  • “firehouse” and “across”

    Not spelling particularly well today.

  • Just here to comment about the little green house in the pix.

    I looked at that place in 2006, it was being offered for rent at $2700/mo. I made a low-ball counter-offer, but they weren’t budging. So I walked away, and am very glad I did.

    It is without a doubt, one of the strangest layouts/interiors I have seen in downtown Brooklyn.

    First, one of the recent residents was apparently a ‘arts and crafts’ type of person and did all this ‘slightly better than amateur’ woodworking in the parlor. There is a small living room and s smaller separate dining room on the other side of the first floor windows. The kitchen is old, and looks like its from a lower middle class home in New Hampshire from 1961. Frankly, it really rides the line between cute and bizarre.

    I asked questions about the possible teardown due to Atlantic Yards. The broker showing the place assured me that it was not in the footprint. Gotta love those brokers!

  • Well ENY, I would say the fire department and the building next to it are much uglier (shudder) and “blight” the neighborhood more than these houses. They are just lucky enough to be on the other side of the street.

    I’ve lived in one of the crappy apartment buildings to the right of the little green house for a few years now, so I’m pretty familiar with the area.

  • “Well ENY, I would say the fire department and the building next to it are much uglier (shudder) and “blight” the neighborhood more than these houses.”

    Sure….I agree with that.