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March 8, 2011

That lingering lawsuit, an upcoming hearing, and some realism from BrooklynSpeaks affidavits about Atlantic Yards costs and benefits

Atlantic Yards Report

There's still one last Atlantic Yards court case, concerning the legitimacy of the ten-year timetable and the failure of the Empire State Development Development Corporation (ESDC) to conduct a Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement to study to adverse impacts of a project that could last 25 years.

And, though the Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman in December refrained from issuing a stay on construction, the dispute continues, as groups in the coalition BrooklynSpeaks forcefully questioned the ESDC's findings that a 25-year buildout would have no adverse impacts beyond those already studied.

A hearing will be held on Tuesday, March 15, at 2:30 pm in Manhattan Supreme Court before Friedman, at 60 Centre Street, IAS MOTION Part 57, Room 335.

Expert affidavits

I'll have an analysis of the overall dispute later in the week, but consider the press release circulated yesterday by BrooklynSpeaks, which cites three expert affidavits challenging the ESDC's claims.

In his affidavit, Ron Shiffman, professor of urban planning at Pratt Institute, argues that it's "an obvious omission" for the state to have bypassed city environmental review guidelines to offer an interim build year for projects whose duration is expected to be greater than ten years.

James Goldstein, Senior Fellow and Director of the Sustainable Communities program at Tellus Institute, a nonprofit research and policy organization in Boston, in his affidavit, points to the impact of delays in three projects, two in the Boston area, one in New London, CT. “The recent cases of Filene’s One Franklin development, Harvard’s Allston Initiative, and New London’s Fort Trumbull project all highlight the quantifiable and qualitative costs that arise in the course of unanticipated project delays. They invite a much more deliberate reconsideration of expectations about project costs and benefits once a delay occurs and, as in the case of One Franklin, demand a much more thorough analysis of the unanticipated impacts that inevitably arise from those delays.”

The state and Forest City Ratner, I'll note, have not revised their cost-benefit estimates.

Majora Carter, the former executive director of Sustainable South Bronx and the current President of the Majora Carter Group, in her affidavit, challenges the ESDC’s argument about the non-impact of 15 more years of construction: “This conclusion is not just counterintuitive. It reflects a national trend in land use policy that prioritizes the interests of private developers over the sustainability of vibrant communities."

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Posted by eric at March 8, 2011 9:26 AM