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January 9, 2007

Additional claim nudges AY eminent domain case back two weeks

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder explains the additional claim added to the eminent domain lawsuit, which just might get Bruce Ratner's knickers all in a twist.


In a nutshell, the plaintiffs are claiming that NY State's blight determination is unconstitutional because the state didn't follow its own rules.

The Empire State Development Corporation is supposed to issue a "determination of blight" within 90 days of the public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The public hearing was on 8/23/06, the determination was issued on 12/08/06.

The ESDC is also required to hold the "public comment period" open for 30 days following the last "hearing."

Remember, the subsequent two public meetings were called "forums," not "hearings."

The general opinion was that there was no difference between the "forums" and the "hearing" — testimony at both were entered into the public record — except that by labeling them as "forums," the state would not have to hold the public comment period open for a full 30 days after the last meeting, just after the "hearing." The public comment period was held open until September 29, eleven days after the September 18 "forum."

So, either the "forums" were really "hearings" and the State illegally shortchanged the public comment period, or the "forums" were NOT "hearings" and the State waited too long to issue the determination of blight.

Either way, the State of New York was so hell-bent on getting final approval of Atlantic Yards in the can before the end of the year that it became impossible for the Empire State Development Corporation to follow its own rules.

Posted by lumi at January 9, 2007 9:15 AM