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January 30, 2010

Condemnation on hold after judge promises prompt review of claims; streets unlikely to close on February 1 - Updated

Atlantic Yards Report

Usually, NoLandGrab only posts a blog entry once, but this one by Norman Oder has been substantially updated and now provides blow-by-blow coverage of yesterday's condemnation hearing.

Here are choices for Justice Abe Gerges to choose from in ultimately ruling on this case:

Gerges's focus is on the narrow law of condemnation, so it would be unusual for him to allow argument on claims that the project has changed so much--and after the chance for public comment on such changes--that the ESDC should issue a new Determination & Findings.

So he could simply dismiss the new claims filed by property owners and leaseholders. Or he could ask the ESDC to revise the petition because of technical defects. Or--the longer shot--he could look at the broader claims, or hold this case in abeyance while another court examines those claims.


Here is Brinckerhoff on the need to reign in out-of-control agencies (such as the ESDC, tool of developer Bruce Ratner).

Brinckerhoff moved on to his analogy regarding the court's presumed unwillingness to transfer title if no financing were available. "What has happened is the fundamental equivalent of the project being abandoned," he said.

Gerges pointed out that courts are supposed to defer to legislative agency.

"There are limits to that deference," Brinckerhoff said, pointig to the unelected three ESDC board members who approved the plan, based on blight findings--including sidewalk cracks and underutilization--made by environmental consultant AKRF, which was slammed in the Columbia case.

"The reason we have courts is so they can rein in agencies when they go too far," he said.

"The only thing we know we're getting is an arena," he said, failing to acknowledge the one promised housing tower.

"And we know the arena is not a benefit to the public," he continued, pointing to New York City Independent Budget Office cost-benefit analysis that it would be a net loss to the city--a study to which the ESDC responded by pointing to its less rigorous benefit analysis, based significantly on taxes from that phantom office tower.

"We are entitled to raise these issues," Brinckerhoff said. "No court should stick its head in the sand. We'll go [to court] where we're told to go."

Please click on the link to get all the details on this hearing.


Posted by steve at January 30, 2010 8:29 AM