Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Atlantic Yards #1: Court Rules for State on EIS Litigation

February 27th, 2009 · No Comments

We’ve been too diverted by other subjects–some of them stupid–to wade into Atlantic Yards recently, but it’s time. Yesterday, the State Appellate Court Ruled for the Empire State Development Corop on the Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Statement Appeal. Oppenents will now ask the state Court of of Appeals to review the case. There is a thorough and very insightful analysis of the ruling on Atlantic Yards Report by the brilliant Norman Oder. Meanwhile, DDDB has a lot to say about the decision:

26 community organizations led by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn—will be headed to the highest court in the state, the Court of Appeals, after a four judge Appellate Division panel ruled for the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) on their challenge to the environmental review and blight designation for developer Forest City Ratner’s floundering Atlantic Yards proposal in Brooklyn. (The court’s ruling is here.)

Petitioners will ask the Court of Appeals to review the ruling and are considering all issues in the case for an appeal. Iey is the state’s designation of the developer’s handpicked development site as “blighted.” The court ruled that the state’s “blight” designation had a “rational basis.” However, Judge Catterson wrote a concurring opinion which raises substantial questions about that basis, suggesting there was no rational basis, but rather a decision to facilitate Forest City Ratner in its effort to control 22 valuable acres in the heart of Brooklyn. Catterson wrote: Because I believe that the New York Urban Development Corporation Act…is ultimately being used as a tool of the developer to displace and destroy neighborhoods that are “underutilized,” I write separately. I recognize that long-standing and substantial precedent requires a high level of deference to the Empire State Development Corporation’s finding of blight. Reluctantly, therefore I am compelled to accept the majority’s conclusion that there is sufficient evidence of “blight” in the record under this standard of review. However, I reject the majority’s core reasoning, that a perfunctory “blight study” performed years after the conception of a vast development project should serve as the rational basis for a determination that a neighborhood is indeed blighted.

Finally, a Judge has written a true statement: That the Empire State Development Corp. is being used as a “tool of the developer.” Appeal on the way.

Tags: Atlantic Yards