"Atlantic Yards" Public Hearing, 8/13/06

News Release

It's About Umitigated Adverse Impacts, "Blight," Eminent Domain Abuse, and Ratner's One Billion Dollar Profit

The Empire State Development Corporation holds a public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Forest City Ratner's (FCR) proposed "Atlantic Yards" development project. The hearing is the public's only chance to respond to the disclosure of the proposed project's environmental impact.

Written comment is due by September 22, only 66 days after the 4,000 pages of documents outlining "unmitigable significant adverse impacts" was released. By comparison, the smaller Yankee Stadium project had a four-month review period. "Atlantic Yards" would be the twice the density of the densest residential community in the United States.

Thousands are expected at the hearing today which. The hearing is also the only opportunity for property owners in the proposed site to go on the record concerning the attempt by the State of New York to seize their property under the power of eminent domain and hand it over to the private developer Forest City Ratner for a primarily luxury housing project that would bring profits of at least one billion dollars for the real estate development firm.

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) spokesperson Daniel Goldstein said, "The reality is that major adverse environmental impacts from “Atlantic Yards” are ignored or radically underestimated in the DEIS; those impacts have been ignored out of hand because this publicly subsidized land grab is about preserving a billion dollar ot more profit for Forest City Ratner, while the public would take all of the financial and environmental risks and impacts."

"While today's hearing is an important opportunity for the public to respond to the environmental review, the future of the "Atlantic Yards" proposal will be played out in the written comment, the political arena and in the courts," Goldstein said.
"We urge the ESDC to take the use of eminent domain out of the plan, and allow a more reasonable project that does not allow the taking of homes and businesses in an area that is clearly not 'blighted', but would only be taken because this developer desires as much real estate as possible in an extremely valuable and desirable neighborhood. If the ESDC continues to insist on the use of eminent domain owners and tenants will have no choice but to litigate to save our homes and businesses, and no project will be built at this site for years, if ever. The foundational purported purpose of the 'Atlantic Yards' proposal is to clear "blighted conditions" on the development site. The 'blighted conditions' claimed by the developer and the State are phony, and thus the entire project is a house of cards, and if built, a disaster."

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn: www.developdontdestroy.org

Daniel Goldstein: press@dddb.net