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March 9, 2008

WHO KNEW: No rezoning for Atlantic Yards

WhoKnew2.jpg Even experts, like an architect who penned this "Report from the Field" for eOculus (the online newsletter for the American Institute of Architects' NY Chapter), don't realize that Atlantic Yards is not the product of a rezoning.

While his presentation emphasized pedestrian planning, the public realm, and a variety of uses, the audience pointed out a contradiction in the recent Department of City Planning’s re-zoning efforts that include the waterfront from Long Island City to Williamsburg, West Side Rail Yards, and Atlantic Yards.

Bruce Ratner's controversial Atlantic Yards project is a state project. The State of NY can, by law, supercede all local zoning, as they are doing in this case.

That's how Ratner can get away with building an arena just steps away from a three-story clapboard house, According to the Atlantic Yards Draft Environmental Impact Statement, "the New York City Zoning Resolution prohibits arenas within 200 feet of residential districts as some of the operations could be incompatible with districts limited primarily to residential use."

In an email, Norman Oder pointed out that it isn't hard to believe that a local architect might not be aware of the distinction, given that The NY Times has not only made the same mistake, but has neglected to run a correction. Thus the mistake remains part of the historical record in the paper's own archives and is readily repeated by those who have faith in the "paper of record."

Posted by lumi at March 9, 2008 5:17 PM