Court of Appeals: Forest City and ESDC Must Conduct Environmental Impact Study Based on 25-Year Atlantic Yards Timetable

Yesterday the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, denied the final appeal by Forest City Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation of a lower court’s July 2011 ruling that the extension of the timeframe for the development of the Atlantic Yards project from 10 years to 25 years required a new Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to be conducted; the new environmental review will include a public hearing. Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, which was involved in bringing the original suit back in November 2009, had this to say: “The ruling today and the previous ones show, thankfully, that NY courts can actually be a check against public agencies running amok on behalf of private interests.” Brooklyn Speaks, the umbrella group for a number of community groups involved in the suit, reiterated one of the key charges on its blog yesterday–that the review process was fast-tracked, and the public interest thereby short-changed, by ESDC back in 2009 in order to allow Forest City to meet a deadline to qualify for $100 million in tax-exempt bonds. Council Member Letitia James used the occasion to call on Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo to “recognize the urgent need to reform the Atlantic Yards project, its plan, and its oversight by State and City governments.” For an analysis of the decision, check out Atlantic Yards Report’s coverage.

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