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September 29, 2006

ESDC foils more FOIL requests

Apparently Norman "The Mad Overkiller" Oder isn't the only one who made a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request to the Empire State Development Corporation only to get the brush off.

Yesterday, Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn's lawyer sent the ESDC a letter objecting "to ESDC’s failure to timely respond to a Freedom of Information Law request... submitted on August 31, 2006."

Unlike Norman Oder's request, which was inadvertently overlooked for several weeks, DDDB attorney Jeff Baker's request had been acknowledged in a timely manner:

On August 31, 2006, I submitted a FOIL request to ESDC requesting a copy of the “independent economic impact analysis” referenced on page 29 of the General Project Plan. In a letter dated September 8,2006, Antovk Pidedjian, the ESDC Records Access Officer, acknowledged my request and said he would respond as to whether it would be granted within ten business days of his letter. As of today, there has not been any response.

In the same letter, Baker explains the law to the ESDC. According to the UDC Act, the public comment period for the DEIS must extend 30 days after the public hearing:

When I wrote to you on August 28 , the focus of my request was based upon the comment period required under SEQRA. At the time I was unaware of the additional requirements for public comment under the UDC Act. Since then I have been made aware of the requirement of Section 16(3) of the Act (Unconsolidated Laws Sec. 6266(3)); which provides, that when ESDC determines to override local regulations, then the public comment period must extend 30 days after the public hearing. While I was unaware of that section, obviously you were aware of it. It is also obvious that for the same reasons set forth in my August 28 letter, the community forums constitute continued public hearings on the GPP. Therefore, as a matter of law, ESDC must extend the public comment period until October 18, 2006.

The failure by the ESDC to hold the public comment period open past today's deadline might constitute grounds for legal action, adding a new twist in the battle over the railyards.

Download letter (PDF)

Posted by lumi at September 29, 2006 12:18 PM