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May 7, 2009

Atlantic Yards Report: Two questions for the oversight hearing

A question for the oversight hearing: what happened to utility work on Pacific Street? And why won't the ESDC explain?

Why do we need an oversight hearing?

Because the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC)--described in this week's New York Observer as flummoxing even supporters with its disarray--won't answer some basic informational questions, but instead punts the questions over to closemouthed developer Forest City Ratner.

Yes, the ESDC usually does respond to my queries, not always with full information, but in this case seems to be failing at a basic level of accountability.

A question for the oversight hearing: why did utility work schedule change?

A look at documents produced by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) during and after the environmental review shows some inconsistencies in estimates of time for utility work. According to the construction schedule and also Chapter 17 of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), it was supposed to take a year. Chapter 17 states, “The major in-street utility work would begin late in 2006 and last about 12 months.”

However, the construction updates issued by the ESDC offered contradictory information, suggesting a shifting timetable for the first phase of utility work and potentially a much longer stretch for all three phases.

Though the ESDC is often willing to answer questions I've posed, in this case, I never got answers.

NoLandGrab: In the immortal words of former Forest City spokesman Loren Riegelhaupt, "when it comes to sharing information with the public and governmental bodies, there’s no such thing as too much, as far as we are concerned." Indeed.

Posted by eric at May 7, 2009 10:26 AM