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February 26, 2009


Unanimous Environmental Decision Upholds Blight Findings and Concludes - the State met its environmental review obligations

Brooklyn, NY – February 26, 2009 – Bruce Ratner, CEO and Chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies, issued the following statement today regarding the Appellate Division, First Department, ruling on the public approvals for the Atlantic Yards project.

“Once again the courts have decided in favor of Atlantic Yards,” Mr. Ratner said. “This project has been reviewed as thoroughly as any in the City and now it is time to put these cases behind us and get to work. Today’s decision speaks comprehensively about the review and approval steps followed for this project and unanimously validates the process.”

The ruling today, which was unanimous, and upholds a State Supreme Court ruling on January 11, 2008, includes six major points related to the review process:

  • The State met its environmental review obligations. Its 3500 page EIS provides an “impressively detailed analysis of the project’s anticipated environmental impacts in 16 separately identified areas.”

  • Confirms that Barclays Center serves a public purpose as a civic project.

  • Confirms the validity of ESDC’s determination that the project site is blighted. “There is no real issue as the actual condition of the properties or of the whole area…the existence of circumstances indicative of “substandard and insanitary” conditions in that area is extensively documented.”

  • The Project includes constitutionally sufficient public purposes – quoting prior decisions court notes that the project includes “several classic public uses,” including alleviation of blight and the development of a sports arena.

  • The EIS properly considered alternatives to the proposed Atlantic Yards project.

  • The court concluded that “the project at issue does not pose extraordinary inherent [security] risks.”

While Mr. Ratner acknowledged one remaining case, for which there was a hearing this week, he explained, “We are ready and eager to break ground. Now more than ever we need to get people back to work and get this project going. Atlantic Yards promises to generate thousands of new jobs, needed new tax revenue for the City and the State, and affordable homes. The courts have consistently ruled in favor of this project because it is good for the City, the State and the borough. This was never truer than now.”

Legal Update

  • Today’s decision is the 22nd consecutive ruling in favor of Atlantic Yards

  • June 23, 2008. The United States Supreme Court declines to review a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

  • February 1, 2008. US Court of Appeals, the Second Circuit, unanimously rejects the opponents’ appeal in the federal eminent domain lawsuit that was dismissed in June, 2007.

  • January 15, 2008. The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court unanimously dismisses a challenge to the project approvals under Section 207 of the Eminent Domain Procedure Law in November 2007. Opponents’ request for an appeal was denied in January, 2008.

  • January 11, 2008. NY State Supreme Court rules against opponents in a case on environmental review procedures. Opponents are appealing the case.

  • October 2007. A second suit brought in the NY State Supreme Court challenging the State's use of eminent domain was dismissed in May 2007, and the dismissal was affirmed by the Appellate Division in October 2007.

NoLandGrab: Today's court decision is certainly a victory for Forest City, but we'd sure like to see their list of the 22 "consecutive" rulings in their favor.

Posted by eric at February 26, 2009 3:20 PM