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September 18, 2008

In appeal of case challenging AY environmental review, some justices skeptical of state’s blight claim

Atlantic Yards Report

Was it déjà vu? As with the May 2007 oral argument in the state lawsuit challenging the Atlantic Yards environmental review, the plaintiffs in the appeal yesterday exited optimistically, with a sense that the court—in this case, at least two of five appellate judges—was sympathetic toward their argument. Again, representatives of developer Forest City Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), along with their clutch of attorneys, exited looking none too cheery.

Notably, when a judge skeptical of the blight claim asked whether environmental consultant AKRF had ever not found blight when asked to look for it, the ESDC attorney sidestepped the question.

Then again, state Supreme Court Justice Joan Madden, when it came time to rule last January, came out squarely on the side of the defendants, so the questions in court hardly predict a final ruling. Still, even a 3-2 decision upholding Madden means an automatic appeal to the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, potentially stringing out the case even longer.

Norman Oder published a detailed account of the hearing.

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Posted by lumi at September 18, 2008 6:56 AM