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November 9, 2010

Justice Friedman slams ESDC for "yet another failure of transparency," says 10-year buildout wasn't justified, requires ESDC to make new findings

Atlantic Yards Report

The Atlantic Yards story just got a little more interesting.

Citing "what appears to be yet another failure of transparency" on the part of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), a state Supreme Court justice today handed Atlantic Yards opponents and critics their first clear-cut victory.

Justice Marcy Friedman ruled (decision below) that, while the ESDC claimed that a ten-year buildout of the project was reasonable, it failed to address the impact of the Development Agreement, which it had kept under wraps and which allows 25 years before penalties kick in for the project as a whole.

What's the impact?

The impact of her ruling, however, may not fundamentally change anything. Friedman did not stay construction of the arena or associated infrastructure.

She granted the motions of the petitioners--groups associated with Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council--and remanded the proceedings "to ESDC for findings on the impact of the Development Agreement and of the renegotiated MTA agreement on its continued use of a 10 year build-out for the Project, and on whether a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement is required or warranted."

Presumably, the ESDC will find a way to justify its decisions--despite the recent acknowledgment by Forest City Ratner that the ten-year buildout was a best-case scenario.

Then again, it may be tougher to make such justifications--thus opening up the possibility of more litigation.

Read on for Norman Oder's top-line analysis of this breaking story, which he'll be adding to as more reaction comes in.

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NoLandGrab: What say you, Governor-elect Cuomo? The Status Cuomo, or something different?

Posted by eric at November 9, 2010 1:11 PM