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January 14, 2007

Eagle's Holt: nothing wrong with AY process

Atlantic Yards Report

In Friday's Brooklyn Daily Eagle (though the column is not yet online), Dennis Holt offered a column headlined "Atlantic Yards: Nothing Was Wrong with Development Process." Some excerpts:
Opponents of the Atlantic Yards project are trying to establish a falsehood about the long process of the development of this major mixed-use effort. That falsehood is that there was something wrong about the public process that led to its governmental approval.
...The public process was quite correct, every base touched, and many more than legally called for. There was, in truth, more "public participation" in the Atlantic Yards development process than in any other development in the last 20 years in Downtown Brooklyn.

Holt may be right about the amount of process in comparison to some other projects, but the rest of his claim is dubious. Firstly, those criticizing the process have included not just the die-hard opponents of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, but mainstream voices like the Municipal Art Society and the Regional Plan Association. (Here's the RPA money quote.)

Note that they have criticized the public process that led to the decision to choose Forest City Ratner as the developer, while Holt seems to be referring mainly to the examination of the project once it was announced.

Secondly, it may be that the Empire State Development Corporation so cut corners in its speedy approval process that it violated a state law requiring eminent domain findings to be made within 90 days of a public hearing.

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Posted by amy at January 14, 2007 1:48 PM