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February 14, 2012

Appeals court argument Tuesday: should state have systematically examined impact of 25-year Atlantic Yards buildout? Is another public hearing needed?

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder previews today's Atlantic Yards court hearing...

In an argument [this] afternoon lasting no longer than 30 minutes, lawyers for the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) and developer Forest City Ratner will argue to a state appellate court that a trial judge overstepped her boundaries in ordering the agency to systematically examine the environmental impacts of a 25-year project and to reassess the second phase of Atlantic Yards.

In turn, lawyers for two community coalitions, led by Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and BrooklynSpeaks, will argue that the decision by Justice Marcy Friedman--which came after a skein of rulings--should be upheld, and a public hearing must be held. (Legal papers are here.)

The case will be heard during the 2 pm session Tuesday at the Appellate Division, First Department, at 27 Madison Avenue in Manhattan. Given that this appeal argument is eighth on the calendar, it may not be heard until 3:30 or later, though those attending probably should get there by 3 pm.

The legal dispute does not affect the building of the arena, nor the towers around it, but does address plans for and impacts of Phase Two of the project: the eleven towers east of Sixth Avenue, including those to be built on a platform over the Vanderbilt Yard.

On a broader note, the case, addresses whether the state agency essentially cheated to ensure that Atlantic Yards would move forward--and whether judges, who generally defer to state agencies if they display a mere "rational" basis for their decisions, are willing to more aggressively protect the public interest.

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Posted by eric at February 14, 2012 1:25 PM