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June 17, 2008

More news on pols call for more oversight

MetroNY (print version only)

Atlantic Yards Report, Push for AY Development Trust begins; how much power would it have?

Such an organizational structure is par for the course; it mirrors the Hudson River Park Trust, which is similarly is governor-controlled. “A balance has to be struck between making sure we maximize community input and the reality of getting legislation passed,” said Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (at dais), a sponsor of the bill, which is likely to receive serious consideration not this legislative session but the next one.

But whether such a trust could actually respond to local concerns, as City Council Member David Yassky put it, about buildings being too tall, and traffic and environmental problems, is another question. Jeffries suggested that the yet-to-be negotiated ground lease for the project gave the state--and, presumably, the trust should it emerge--some leverage.

Kent Barwick of the Municipal Art Society, a major component of BrooklynSpeaks, said the trust aimed not to take the governor’s power away “but get the public’s voice in the discussion.” Barwick (at right in photo) said public involvement was needed because it’s “just basic civics” and also because “large-scale public projects in New York take a long, long time;” such continued oversight is even “in the interest of the developer.”

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, LEGISLATORS, CIVIC LEADERS To Begin Campaign To Reform Atlantic Yards Oversight.

Today on the steps of City Hall at 10 a.m., Assemblypersons Hakeem Jeffries and James Brennan and City Councilpersons Letitia James and David Yassky will gather with community leaders to launch “The Campaign to Reform the Governance of Atlantic Yards.”

This is an initiative to pass new legislation that would reform the governance, or oversight, of the Atlantic Yards project.

Gowanus Lounge, New Push for Atlantic Yards Legislation Gets Underway

The Campaign to Reform Atlantic Yards, which proposes an “Atlantic Yards Trust” to oversee the project as well as other reforms, is launching this morning at 10AM at City Hall. Among the local officials back it are Assembly Members Hakeem Jeffries and James Brennan and City Council Members Letitia James and David Yassky.

Curbed.com, Officials Want a 'New Structure' to Govern Atlantic Yards

The officials want to create an Atlantic Yards Trust made up of state and city officials to "oversee" the project and a Stakeholders Council of local residents appointed by local elected officials to advise the trust and "provide meaningful community input." The change would have to be approved in Albany. There is an ombudsman appointed by the Empire State Development Corp. overseeing the project. All approvals were handled at the state level.

The Campaign for Community-Based Planning, Brooklyn Electeds Call for Atlantic Yards Trust

This Act would create a 15-member development trust to manage the Atlantic Yards project, theoretically redistributing power over the project’s master plan from developer Forest City Ratner to the public.

Brooklyn Heights Blog, Yassky, Millman, BHA Support Atlantic Yards Oversight.

Assemblywoman Joan L. Millman, whose district includes the Heights. Among those speaking in favor of the bill at the press conference was City Councilman David Yassky (at podium in photo), who noted that $55 million in public funds has already been disbursed to the developer, Forest City Ratner, without any conditions or meaningful public oversight. Yassky opined that, although there are many problems with the project as proposed and approved, including the height and bulk of some buildings, some core of good can be salvaged from it.

Assemblywoman Millman could not be present for the press conference, however, State Democratic District Leader for the 52nd Assembly District (Millman’s) Jo Anne Simon (to the left of Yassky in photo) was there, and spoke in favor of the bill. She strongly criticized the lack of transparency and of meaningful public participation in the process of reviewing, approving and funding Atlantic Yards. She noted that the bill would provide a forum for “all of the stakeholders, not just a pre-selected few.”

Posted by lumi at June 17, 2008 4:58 AM