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July 19, 2006

DEIS released; AY cost reaches $4.2 billion; Gargano, Stuckey defend scale; hearing August 23

Atlantic Yards Report

What's a little itty-bitty 1,400-page document to "Stormin'" Norman Oder?

StuckeyDePlasco.jpg Oder makes his first pass at the General Project Plan document and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), providing a timeline, a report from Forest City Ratner (FCR) Atlantic Yards Development Group President James P. Stuckey's impromptu press conference, a definition of "vomitory," and a list of environmental impacts that the DEIS says are either unmitigable or won't have any effect on the surrounding environment.

The Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods dubbed it a “mid-summer surprise.” Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn called it a “contemptible slap in the face to the people of Brooklyn and the taxpayers of New York State.” Jim Stuckey, president of Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards Development Group, called it “a very good day for the thousands of families that will be looking for affordable housing.” And Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), called it another step toward—to paraphrase the developer’s now-shelved slogan—hoops, jobs, and housing.

They were reacting to the ESDC’s release of a massive set of documents, a General Project Plan and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), with a tight schedule for approvals. Community groups and others concerned about the largest project in the history of Brooklyn must gear up for a public hearing on August 23 and a follow-up community forum September 12, with a public comment period ending September 23.

vomitory.jpg

If all proceeds smoothly—a big if--a Final EIS could emerge in late fall, then the ESDC could approve the project, which then would have to get past the Public Authorities Control Board, one of whose three members, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, effectively killed the West Side Stadium project but has not expressed such concerns about Atlantic Yards.
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The document acknowledges “significant adverse impacts” regarding cultural resources, traffic, and noise, as well as construction impacts, but says that the provision of housing, improving railroad facilities, and “enhancing the vitality of the Atlantic Terminal area” outweigh any negatives. Then again, such documents are shaped to encourage development, and lobbyist Richard Lipsky—now also a Forest City Ratner lobbyist--has described AKRF, which produced the DEIS, as “accommodating consultants.”

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Posted by lumi at July 19, 2006 7:11 AM