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September 15, 2005

MTA board approves sale to Ratner. Opponents readies suits. Brooklynites look towards Environmental Impact Statement.

vanderbiltyards.jpgHere are snippets of today's coverage of the MTA Board decision and what comes next:

The NY Times, Huge Arena Project in Brooklyn Takes a Major Step Forward
The Times covers the MTA Board's Special Meeting:

Although Mr. Ratner's $3.5 billion project, the largest private investment in the borough's history, would bring his team, the Nets, to Brooklyn from New Jersey and create at least 7,000 apartments, there was a glum tone to the authority's board meeting. Few speakers - whether supporters or opponents of the plan - voiced any passion at the public hearing before the vote, in part, because the outcome was never in doubt.

However, a local resident, Shabnam Merchant, who lives near the project site at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, stepped up to the microphone to say, "It's a sham." She said she could not pretend otherwise, then spent the rest of her allotted two minutes standing there without speaking.

Asbury Park Press, Ratner clears one hurdle in moving Nets to Brooklyn

[Develop Don't Destroy spokesperson Dan] Goldstein contends that because Forest City Ratner's plan has not yet undergone an environmental review by the ESDC, the sale of the Atlantic Yards is not legal or valid. The environmental review usually takes about six months after it is submitted to the state's Public Authority Control Board.

"The deal doesn't close until that ends," Goldstein said. "No money will transfer."

NY Daily News, MTA on track for Nets. Green-lights Ratner arena complex plan.

"The Forest City Ratner offer benefits all concerned," said veteran political activist the Rev. Herbert Daughtry, whose House of the Lord Pentecostal Church is near the site.

Daughtry pointed to a 47-page community benefits agreement between Ratner and a coalition of neighborhood groups saying, "I have never witnessed any contract of this scope and of this diversity."

NoLandGrab: With all due respect, the original Staples Center CBA makes Ratner's look like Cliff Notes.

NY1, MTA Votes In Favor Of Ratner Arena Development Plan
Bobby Cuza reports:

The proposal still has to undergo an environmental review. It also must go before the state Public Authorities Control Board, which is likely to approve it.

The project has faced community opposition, particularly from property owners who fear Ratner may try to work with the city to use eminent domain to force them out.

NoLandGrab: To clarify, since NY State is taking over the project, thus circumventing the City's more stringent Land Use Review Process, it's NY State who is planning to use eminent domain to execute government takeover of private property to hand over to Ratner.

DigitalBrooklyn.com, MTA Sells Out to Ratner
DigitalBrooklyn quotes BP and Cheerleader in Chief Markowitz:

“Now that the Atlantic Yards bid has been accepted, the next step is for the EIS scoping hearing to be set. We will now delve into the nitty gritty of every single legitimate issue that the community has brought forth. Brooklynites must see a comprehensive and realistic plan that addresses traffic, parking, public transit, parks and open space, community facilities, noise, air quality, density, and every other planning challenge that a project of this scale entails.

The Newark Star-Ledger, MTA OKs selling land to Ratner
Forest City Ratner Executive VP Jim Stuckey plays down the fact that they are going to throw people out of their homes:

The company still needs to acquire several tracts around the arena site, but Stuckey said most are auto repair shops or vacant land rather than private residences.

Reuters, NY agency OKs Brooklyn project with new Nets arena
Reuters looks ahead to the vote of the Public Authorities Control Board (the group that killed the West Side Stadium/Hudson Yards deal) and gets a quote from NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's office:

A spokesman for Silver, who represents Lower Manhattan, said: "The speaker is aware that the project has the support of members of the Assembly, but before he makes a decision he'd like to see more details."

NY Daily Sun, MTA To Sell Rights to Atlantic Rail Yards
The MTA voted to approve the sale against the protestations of the one "no" vote on the board:

Mr. Pally, an attorney from Suffolk County, said those improvements were never identified as needed by the Long Island Rail Road. Mr. Pally was alone, however, in his sharp criticism of the Authority,just as he was in July in objecting to the board’s decision to negotiate exclusively with Forest City Ratner.

“Instead of buying something the Long Island Rail Road does not want, which is this project, we should take the entire $214 million in cash and use it for projects which the Long Island Rail Road does want,” he said.

Groups are poised for a legal challenge:

The City Council member from Prospect Heights, Letitia James, vowed a legal fight, as did property owners who could lose their homes or businesses if the city invokes eminent domain.

NY Newsday, Deal sets up shot for Nets
Another Pally quote:

"This board has one responsibility only," Pally said. "If it is going to sell property ... it sells that property at the most value to the authority or all of the riders of the authority. In my opinion, this deal does not do that."

Newsday reports that the Public Authorities Control Board, "who blocked that deal have said they would not do the same with the Nets."


The politician who killed the Jets' dream of a West Side stadium said yesterday he hasn't made up his mind about the Nets' planned arena in Brooklyn, hours after that proposal cleared a major hurdle.

Posted by lumi at September 15, 2005 6:58 AM