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January 5, 2010

"Your views [at public hearing] will be taken into consideration"? Not by the UDC in the early 1980s

Atlantic Yards Report

Earlier today, I wrote that the public process for Atlantic Yards was mostly a formality.

And in a commentary I received today, Ross Sandler, director of the Center for New York City Law and New York Law School, similarly describes a process in which the Urban Development Corporation--the Empire State Development Corporation's formal name--avoided acknowledging that it would take the public's views into consideration.

The commentary, headlined "Empire State Development gets an earful on public hearings," appears in the December 2009 issue of NYLS's CityLand.
...

In the early 1980s I was asked to be the hearing officer for an Urban Development Corporation project located on Roosevelt Island. The project was limited and seemed worthy. On the night of the hearing, however, a large turnout of persons consistently spoke against the project. The hearing took place in a church basement and I sat in the front at a desk as the hearing officer. At the conclusion of each speaker's statement I thanked the speaker and said, “Your views will be taken into consideration.” I thought such a neutral statement was both courteous and appropriate.

After I had said the “your views will be taken into consideration” a number of times, the UDC lawyer watching over the hearing, came up behind me and whispered. “Please do not say ‘your views will be taken into consideration.' You are going beyond your authority.”

I don't have a personal view of the Columbia plan, but it is certainly a nice feeling to have a court stand up and say that the public hearings really do mean that “your views will be taken into consideration.”

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NoLandGrab: We're pretty sure that Edward Kramer, who served as hearing officer for the ESDC's public hearings on Atlantic Yards, never once claimed that “your views will be taken into consideration.” And we're also pretty sure they weren't.

Posted by eric at January 5, 2010 12:01 AM