Friday, April 13, 2012

CM James Comments On Appellate Courts Findings Regarding Atlantic Yards Project, Phase II

April 12, 2012

Contact: Aja Worthy-Davis at (212) 788-7081

Council Member Letitia James Comments On Appellate Courts Findings Regarding Atlantic Yards Project, Phase II

(New York, NY)— On April 12, 2012, a New York State Appellate Court found— in a unanimous decision— that the state must conduct a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) regarding the second phase of the 2009 Atlantic Yards plan, as well as re-approve the second phase of the project. The case, Matter of Develop Don't Destroy (Brooklyn), Inc. vs. Empire State Dev. Corp., was led by Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and Brooklyn Speaks. Today's finding upheld a lower court's decision to require the Empire State Development Corp. (ESDC) to conduct an SEIS.

The goal of an SEIS is to examine new or additional environmental impacts related to development, furthering the findings in the initial Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Through re-evaluating Phase II of the Atlantic Yards project, significant impacts will likely be found. The court’s findings state that the ESDC failed to consider changes in the project schedule, which would almost certainly place development beyond the 10-year construction estimate. Furthermore, the court found that developer Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) “failed to show that [they] had the financial ability to complete the project in 10 years.”

“It seems clear to me that if the facts regarding the impact of the development had been accurately presented two years ago, the resulting decision would’ve halted construction,” said Council Member Letitia James. “We can be almost certain at this point that the jobs and affordable housing originally promised will not come to fruition anytime soon, and instead Prospect Heights and surrounding residents will have to live with vacant lots and construction for years to come.”

The ESDC waited nine months to take action after the findings of the lower court, during which time issues related to impacts of the surface parking lot (planned for Block 1129) could have been addressed in an SEIS. FCRC has yet to release a plan for the lot.


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