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August 20, 2009

ESDC, FCR fire back, saying Court of Appeals shouldn't accept appeal in EIS case; in turn, plaintiffs slam mischaracterizations

Atlantic Yards Report

We should know within a month whether the case challenging the Atlantic Yards environmental review will, like the case challenging eminent domain, get a hearing before the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals.

The Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) and Forest City Ratner have responded forcefully to the request by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) and 25 co-petitioners, who asked the Court of Appeals to review the case, questioning whether the "bias and corruption" demonstrated by the ESDC renders the agency's blight findings invalid.

The ESDC and FCR say the case is cut and dried, given that courts give agencies much deference. In turn, the petitioners fire back in a final legal memo, charging that the ESDC and the developer mischaracterize their arguments.

The Court of Appeals is not required to accept this case.

If it doesn't, however, that would mean that one crucial element in the ESDC's much-criticized Blight Study, the questionable use of crime statistics, would never have been subject to judicial scrutiny, since the trial court punted on the issue and the Appellate Division ignored it.

Should the case be accepted, a victory for the petitioners would, at the least, require a do-over of the Blight Study. While it might undermine Atlantic Yards as a whole, the eminent domain case represents more of a fundamental challenge to the progress of the project.

Click thru for a detailed analysis of the legal arguments, and — surprise! — the ESDC's and FCR's liberal interpretations of reality.

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Posted by eric at August 20, 2009 8:49 AM