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June 1, 2007

In Coney Island, sidewalk blight and an evasive administration

Atlantic Yards Report stumbles over a clue about one of the nagging questions about "blight" conditions in the Atlantic Yards footprint.

So, who's responsible for the blight on city sidewalks? Last year, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) punted flagrantly on the question, when queried by Brooklynites regarding the condition of sidewalks bordering the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) Vanderbilt Yard.

Regarding Coney Island, a similar city evasiveness is evident, according to an op-ed yesterday in the New York Sun, headlined Sidewalks of Brooklyn. Coney Island resident Gabriel Schoenfeld recounts his frustration in requesting that the city do something about "the frightful conditions of the sidewalks here."

Though Schoenfeld sent copies to several people in the administration, he didn't get a response for 13 months. Joseph Palmieri, the Brooklyn Borough Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, didn't explain the delay but recounted bureaucratically:

Please be advised that by law, the owner of the property adjacent to the sidewalk is responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing the sidewalk discussed in your letter. Additionally, the property owner may be liable for personal injury and property damage caused by failure to maintain the sidewalk in a reasonably safe manner. The Sidewalk Management Unit will inspect the location and issue a Notice of Violation to the property owner, if warranted.

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blightwalk.jpg NoLandGrab reality check:
* According to the law, the property owner is responsible for the condition of the sidewalk.
* A state agency, the MTA, owns the Vanderbilt Railyards.
* Therefore the state is responsible for the condition of the sidewalks.
* The state sponsor of Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, the ESDC, identified the sidewalks as "blighted" while building a case to support the use of eminent domain.

CONCLUSION: THE STATE IDENTIFIED "BLIGHT" CONDITIONS for which IT IS RESPONSIBLE to make the case for the STATE SEIZURE OF PROPERTY BY EMINENT DOMAIN for Bruce Ratner's project.

Brilliant!

Posted by lumi at June 1, 2007 8:54 AM