Tuesday, February 14, 2pm**
Oral Argument in State Appellate Court on Atlantic Yards Case
Valentine's Day Oral Argument in Ratner/NY State Appeal Of Ruling Requiring New Atlantic Yards Environmental Review
What better day than Valentine's to further discuss, in court, the sweetness of Bruce Ratner's sweetheart deal?
On Tuesday, February 14, oral argument will be heard in State Appeals court on an appeal filed by Forest City Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation. The partners in the Atlantic Yards project are attempting to overturn a July 2011 ruling, in favor of a community coalition led by Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and BrooklynSpeaks, requiring a new Environmental Impact Statement for the bulk of the Brooklyn development project, which has been floundering over the two years since groundbreaking took place for the arena portion of the project.
Should the Ratner and ESDC appeal fail, the state agency and Forest City Ratner will have to issue a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, hold a public hearing on that review, and vote to approve or disapprove the new review. The fundamental issue in the ruling under appeal is whether a 25 year (or more) build out of the project will have new and different impacts than the now discredited claim by the developer and the state that the entire project (16 towers and the arena) will be built by 2019. (Most of the project site is expected to be parking lots and vacant lots for up to a decade.)
Tuesday, February 14th at 2pm**
Appellate Division of New York State Supreme Court
27 Madison Avenue in Manhattan (between 25th and 26th Street)
(**The day's argument calendar begins at 2pm. This appeal argument is 8th on the calendar. So we can only estimate when the argument will take place. It is likely to start between 3:30 and 4, and not too likely before 3:30. If you plan on attending we suggest arriving shortly after 3pm.)
The back-story to the ruling, which ordered the ESDC to conduct a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, now under appeal is long and tortured. For more about that we recommend reading Norman Oder's Atlantic Yards Report account of the case history. Mr. Oder has also provided these in-depth reviews of the State and Ratner's appeal brief and the reply from the community coalition defending against the appeal.
What is the significance of this lawsuit and the appeal?
In early December Forest City Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation filed legal papers appealing last July's ruling in the community's favor that the state agency acted irrationally, and misled the court and public, when it approved the modified project plan for Atlantic Yards. The court ordered the agency to undertake a supplemental environmental review of the project.
While the arena construction moves ahead for a September 2012 opening, the rest of the project is a huge question mark, which requires some semblance of a meaningful environmental review, something it has yet to receive. This review must include a public hearing.
Should Forest City and ESDC prevail in their appeal, the supplemental review and public hearing will not occur and the project will, yet again, evade a proper review of the impact it is having and is going to have on Brooklyn.
As long as Forest City Ratner continues to fail to deliver on its promises while maintaining its stranglehold on 22 acres in the heart of Brooklyn, the community must demand its opportunity to have a say in what happens to our neighborhoods; upholding this ruling is one important step towards that goal.