Release Main Page
Release: July 7, 2008
DDDB and 25 Co-Plaintiffs File Appeal in Lawsuit Against
the Empire State Development Corporation, MTA & PACB
Plaintiffs Seek to Overturn Supreme Court Decision on Suit
Seeking to Annul Fatally Flawed Environmental Impact Statement
and Approval of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards Proposal
NEW YORK, NY- Late yesterday, twenty-six co-plaintiff groups filed
their appeal in New York State Appellate Court seeking to overturn
Supreme Court Judge Joan Madden's January 11th ruling. Their appeal challenges
the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and approval of Forest
City Ratner's Atlantic Yards proposal. The appeal alleges that the FEIS
submitted by former Governor Pataki's Empire State Development Corporation
(ESDC) was fatally flawed on substantive and procedural grounds. Annulment
of the FEIS would require the undertaking of a new and credible environmental
impact analysis by Governor Paterson's ESDC, and a new vote by the Public
Authorities Control Board (PACB) for the 22-acre real estate development
project proposed in Prospect Heights and Park Slope, Brooklyn. Defendants
on the suit include the ESDC, the PACB, the MTA and Forest City Ratner
The plaintiffs believe that the case, DDDB et al. v ESDC et al., was wrongly decided, on a number of grounds, by the lower court. The appeal focuses on the plaintiffs' charge that the lower court erred in numerous respects, including the following:
• The State's determination that the project site is "blighted" was illegitimate, and manufactured by the developer to take valuable private property via eminent domain.
• The State had no authority to approve the Barclays Center Arena because it is not a "Civic Project" as defined under the Urban Development Corporation Act (UDCA) .
• The State violated the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) by failing to consider the possibility of terrorism and other security breaches on the Project.
• The State violated SEQRA by grossly misrepresenting the project's construction timeline, thereby minimizing the project's impacts, and not requiring adequate mitigation.
• The State violated SEQRA when it failed to adequately study alternative locations for the proposed Project, including locating the arena in Coney Island.
• The PACB violated SEQRA by approving the project without considering its environmental impacts and failing to make its own SEQRA findings.
"The ESDC's rush to reach the pre-determined outcome of its Atlantic Yards review before the end of the Pataki administration led to a fatally flawed environmental review, and violations of its statutory procedures and responsibilities," said lead attorney Jeffrey Baker of Young, Sommer, Ward, Ritzenberg, Baker & Moore. "Our appeal seeks to overturn the Supreme Court ruling from January, and annul the environmental review and approval of 'Atlantic Yards' by Charles Gargano's Empire State Development Corporation, the Public Authorities Control Board, and the MTA, necessitating an urgently needed fresh look from Governor Paterson, his new ESDC and MTA, and the PACB, which has two new members on the three-member board since the approval of the project in December, 2006."
The legal appeal has broad support from the community with co-plaintiff groups representing all of the communities surrounding the project site, and well beyond, including: Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB), the 41-member coalition Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods (CBN), New York Public Interest Research Group/Straphangers Campaign (NYPIRG), Sierra Club, Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID), Fort Greene Association, Society for Clinton Hill, Boerum Hill Association, Crown Heights North Association, Park Slope Neighbors, Fort Greene Park Conservancy, and Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus, as well as fourteen other community organizations and block associations.
All legal papers filed can be found here: www.dddb.net/FEIS/appeal
The co-plaintiffs are:
A summary of the original complaint can be found at: www.dddb.net/FEIS/summary.php
Develop Donít Destroy Brooklyn, Inc.
Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods, Inc.
NY Public Interest Research Group/Straphangers
Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID)
Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association
The Brooklyn Bearís Gardens Inc
Bergen Street-Prospect Heights Block Association, Inc.
Boerum Hill Association
Brooklyn Vision, Inc.
Carlton Avenue Association
Carroll Street Block Association (5th to 6th Ave)
Crown Heights North Association, Inc.
Dean Street Block Association (4th to 5th Ave)
East Pacific Block Association
Fort Greene Association
Fort Greene Park Conservancy
Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus
Park Slope Neighbors
Park Place-Underhill Avenue Block Association
Prospect Heights Action Coalition
Prospect Place-Brooklyn Block Association
Society for Clinton Hill
South Portland Avenue Block Association
South Oxford Street Block Association
Zen Environmental Studies Institute<
DEVELOP DON'T DESTROY BROOKLYN leads a broad-based community
fighting for development that will unite our communities instead of dividing
and destroying them
DDDB is 501c3 non-profit corporation supported by over 4,000 individual
donors from the community.