AY: Brooklyn Speaks Joins Timeline Challenge

While the Empire State Development Corporation approved the Atlantic Yards project for the second time last September, the deal details—the penalties and incentives to get the project done—weren’t resolved until the master closing in December. And then the ESDC waited a full month to make the voluminous print documents available to reporters and others willing to visit the agency’s office in business hours. That Development Agreement, which Norman Oder of the Atlantic Yards Report wrote about in late January lent credibility to what critics of the Atlantic Yards project have been saying for years: That there’s no way Forest City Ratner’s going to complete construction within the ten-year time frame and that the penalties for not doing so are as small as the wriggle room for avoiding them is large. (Back in April 2009 ESDC chief Marisa Lago even said on record that the project was expected to take “decades.”) What’s the problem with that? Well, the original Environmental Impact Statements, upon which the courts have relied, only evaluated the impact of the area being subjected to construction for a decade and twenty five years of construction could obviously take a bigger toll. (A Technical Memorandum issued last June briefly said a delay would be immaterial, but it was not a Supplementary EIS.)

Earlier this month Develop Don’t Destroy along with nineteen other community groups filed a motion for the New York State Supreme Court to reconsider its March 2010 dismissal of a case brought by project opponents against ESDC; in that case, the judge found that there was just enough evidence to support the ten-year time frame. However, the Development Agreement was released only after the oral argument in that case, and was not permitted to be added to the record. The new motion argues that the new evidence that the entire project is likely to take closer to 25 years means that the court should “reconsider its March 10th ruling and to allow oral argument that considers the revealing information in the omitted documents,” according to a DDDB press release.

On Friday, points out Atlantic Yards Report, Brooklyn Speaks spoke out on its decision to join the motion: The extended construction schedule will subject the adjoining residential neighborhoods to construction noise, dust, air pollution, traffic blockages and empty lots for 25 years or more a negative situation that was never addressed in the 2006 EIS or the 2009 Technical Memorandum, explained Deb Howard, Executive Director of the Pratt Area Community Council. The ESDC has a responsibility to evaluate the impacts of the project it agreed to, not the project it wishes would be built.

For more details on how the Development Agreement relaxed the deadlines publicly disclosed in September, check out Atlantic Yards Report‘s post this morning .

0 Comment

  • I have major AY-fatigue.

  • I’ll be 79 in 25 years.

  • That makes me think of a book idea I had, interviewing 80 yr olds and getting them to tell us what we should know about the whole course of life before we live it.

  • ditto, my two cents: “Don’t let things like AY get you all riled up.”

  • That seems good advice but you’re a mere whippersnapper at the moment so I can’t include it.

  • I liken these folks to the PETA people. I don’t agree with animal cruelty either but they become so obsessed with their issue and becomes so holier than thou that loose perspective on everything else that goes on in the city or the country or the world. Their issue just doesn’t justify their exagerated reactions.

  • I have no idea if it were legally possible but if it were Ratner should have taken a page from Robert Moses, the minute he cleared all the past lawsuits he shold have – the next morning at 12:01AM or as early as possible should have evicted and demolished every inhabited building in the footprint…..until they do this the litigation will NEVER end….
    (BTW I believe the above action is not possible b/c the ED hearings are still ongoing but still….)

  • In more important matters than this latest “finding” by the DDDB crowd….

    …..the woman in the Harrah’s Resort ad over there========>

    is rather nice-looking.

  • The lawsuits and the fuss would have ended a long time ago if the process had been above board and truthful in the first place. The outrage stems not from being sore losers, but from knowing that what has occurred is just out and out wrong.

    It’s an interesting comparison between Robert Moses and Bruce Ratner. I’m sure Ratner wishes he had the power Moses had, so that he could do whatever he wanted. But even back then, people fought, and occassionally, the people won. The fact that most of Brooklyn doesn’t look like much of the Bronx with highways cut through it right and left, or the fact that the Village is still there, is proof of that. He was powerful, but not the Master of the Universe.

    25 years of construction is a very long time. People have the right to be concerned, and quite loud about that.

  • Sing it, Montrose. The Brooklyn Speaks crowd is filled with moderates who broke away from DDDB’s shrill scorched earth policies. Their voices are worth listening to.

  • Montrose Morris is my hero.

    If you’ve got AY fatigue dittoburg, then you should support the Brooklyn Speaks/DDDb actions. Imagine your fatigue after 25++ years of constructions, only to find Ratner has built a project like Atlantic Center times 100.

  • NY is a great town…. call me when it is finished

  • The thing about DDDB is that they are people with the most to lose- homes and businesses. They are shrill, but considering the way the whole process was manipulated to benefit Ratner, I hardly think their reactions are overdone.Had they not made so much noise, the Ratner steamroller would have run right over us. It may still happen, but why make it easy for him? ESDC did that.

  • So we give a lot of the the land to Ratner at a fraction of its appraised value, turn a blind eye when he seizes the rest in the name of economic development. We pay for the bulk of the construction even though the economic return to the city (versus the Nets’ owners, very different story there) is infinitesimal compared to the cost, and don’t care when its done?

    I’m not entirely sure it’s the Anti-AY crowd that’s lost its perspective.

  • in a nutshell, johnny.

  • Johnny- please. We don’t do sensible and logical here. :-)

  • Thank goodness the anti-AY crowd spoke up.

    I never hear any of the pro-AY people directly address the specific concerns of the people opposed.

  • I nominate this MM quote as “Most Naive”:

    “The lawsuits and the fuss would have ended a long time ago if the process had been above board and truthful in the first place.”

    Look you can hate (or love) AY but please at least be realistic – no matter what the process would have been, unless the proposal was essentially – do nothing (or spend 150M to build a platform over the yards and then build 300K brownstones for moderate income people) – someone would have been yelling screaming and filing frivolous lawsuits.

    Additionally DDDB has always said that they are against an arena at the site – NO MATTER WHAT, so if the process was crappy – it only gave DDDB ammo for a fight they were going to have NO MATTER WHAT.

  • wrong again, fs. alternative plans endorsed by community groups were for apartment buildings, not brownstones.

    ratner’s plan is to create something that would be equivalent to the trump development on the westside in terms of massing. go take a look and ask yourself if that’s the best plan for this part of brooklyn.

    and i don’t understand how you can know FOR A FACT what a group of people would have done NO MATTER WHAT.

    since you’re that prescient, maybe you could post some lottery numbers for us all?

  • Let us not forget Ratner’s plan also includes the taxpayer paying for most of it.

  • southbrooklyn – 1st of all DDDB has publicly said (as well as here on brownstoner) that any plan with an arena would be fought.

    As for the “alternative plan” it was an alternative in name only but even if for argument sake that it was the plan picked – I ask your question back to you – what evidence do you or MM or anyone have that “everyone” would have been on board and no fight/litigation/protests wouldnt have taken place? Because any look at NYC history indicates that it likely would have met some (if not alot) of opposition.

  • You tell them fsrg! Damn those DDDB people who want to stop Atlantic Yards! I want my tax dollars to go to subsidize the new owner of the Nets! Our tax dollars should go to subsidize Russian basketball, not to the MTA! Why don’t people learn to shut up and listen to their wise rulers in Albany? We should stop all these lawsuits, especially since the arena plan was voted on by the voters! Progress means listening to Prokhorov, so thank you for your selfless defense of democracy!

  • If you (and your like minded tea-partiers) want a direct democracy move to Switzerland (or for a watered-down version, California) but if you live here in the regular USA you are blessed with a representative democracy – and this project has passed every hurdle that our system has, including judicial review – so if you dont like the outcome then maybe you should mobilize more of your “majority” to actually vote – because so far – virtually no politician has gotten elected (or anywhere else) on an anti-AY platform, so your sarcastic rant has as much foundation as a DDDB lawsuit – that is – ZERO.

  • FSRQ: There has been no public process with AY, none. It was backroom deal between Ratner, Bloomberg, Pataki and Markowitz. It was deliberately structured to by-pass NYC land use procedures which would have required a City Council vote and given our elected officials a real say in the project. Instead we were stitched up by the Albany “3-men-in-a-room” cabal and the totally non-transparent ESDC. There’s evidence from all over the country that sports arenas are a huge drag on public funds. And the out-dated single developer approach, creating superblocks and demapping streets, is so contrary to everything urban planners have learned in the last 40 years. It didn’t make sense in 2003 and it doesn’t make sense now.

  • Good point fsrq. In representative democracies, citizens don’t have the recourse of taking grievances to court. But I’m unclear on another point- is sarcasm allowed?

  • I’m amazed someone called me a tea bagger. Wow. Certainly . . . innovative.

    Accurate, unfortunately much less so.

  • 19 community groups? Each of which has 1-2 members.


  • fsrq, you’re the man.

  • fsrq, you’re the one man (or woman) who actually thinks that Albany makes wise decisions.

    You’re also the one woman (or man) who thinks that Tish James is a Tea Partier.