Brooklyn Groups: State Rushed Through Changes to Atlantic Yards

Demolition performed as part of the Atlantic Yards project has blighted large swaths of downtown Brooklyn.

Several Brooklyn civic and community organizations, joined by local elected representatives, argued in state court today that the Empire State Development Corporation improperly rushed through major changes to the Atlantic Yards project without legally required study.

The modified plan changed the schedule for construction, delaying the finished product by 17 years and deferring the creation of public space.  It expands the size of the surface parking at the site, seemingly creating the “blight” that the state has used to justify the use of eminent domain in the first place. The effects of the expanded timeline on the surrounding neighborhoods were not studied in a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, ignoring the “hard look” required under state environmental law.

In addition to altering the construction plan, the suit contends that ESDC improperly ceded decision power over future changes to the development plan to Forest City Ratner, the developer.

This is the first lawsuit from members of the BrooklynSpeaks coalition, which has tried to work with the state and Ratner towards a better site plan for three years. The Tri-State Campaign (which is a member of BrooklynSpeaks but did not join this lawsuit) has argued that the project’s transportation planning includes serious flaws, including the creation of 1,400 “temporary” surface parking spaces.

The petitioners in the case include State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, State Assemblymember James Brennan, NYC Councilmember Letitia James and Brooklyn Speaks member organizations Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corp., the Boerum Hill Association, the Brooklyn Heights Association, the Fifth Avenue Committee, the Park Slope Civic Council and the Pratt Area Community Council.

Image: From the BrooklynSpeaks website.

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3 comments to Brooklyn Groups: State Rushed Through Changes to Atlantic Yards

  • […] Speaks Makes Its Case Against Atlantic Yards and ESDC in Court (MTR, Bklyn […]

  • It sound as if some people in the city adminstration were not paid off;everyone knows how it is in the large cities on the eastern seaboard.

  • Paul

    I know the article was written this way in response to a press release from Brooklyn Speaks, but just for clarity, the case heard today was presented by joint plaintiffs who had filed very similar briefs. The cases were combined by the court.
    The first case was filed by the Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn coalition. The two groups have many members in common. Significantly, this is the first time Brooklyn Speaks, long of the “mend it don’t end it” approach to Atlantic Yards, has felt they had no alternative left for discussion other than the courts. That’s what this mess has come to.

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