Click for this letter in pdf format.
October 23, 2004

Dear Community Board 2, 6, 8 Member,

We understand that it is not customary to contact individual board members directly, but under these unusual and urgent circumstances waiting until your next committee meeting would be too late to get our message to you. We should also like to clarify that in no way does this letter indicate that we support the CBA process as a substitute for the ULURP process. The ULURP process was brought into existence in the 1970s as a way to standardize direct negotiations between developers and communities, to ensure that all members of the effected communities are equally represented and that all our elected council members eventually vote on the negotiated points. We consider it unfortunate that certain elected representatives are seeking to shortchange Brooklyn in this regard and urge you to continue to fight to ensure that this project will go through the ULURP process. The excuse that this cannot be done because part of the project is on State land is unacceptable; the Atlantic Terminal Mall sits entirely on State-owned MTA land, yet that proposal went through ULURP.

We have watched with concern the process by which the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), negotiated between Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC), Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (BUILD), ACORN, and the Downtown Brooklyn Advisory and Oversight Committee (DBOAC), is being rushed through without any true, meaningful participation from the community. We understand that the parties have requested comments from members of the Community Boards (CBs) by the end of October. We urge you to consider the impact of offering your comments by the imposed deadline and also to play a more active role in ensuring that the CBA will truly represent the wishes of the affected communities.

CBAs are traditionally the result of a negotiation process between the developer and representatives from the affected communities. In these negotiations, the developer agrees to provide specific community benefits, and in exchange the community groups promise to support the proposed project.1 The developer's interest in getting the CBA signed is that it facilitates the ability to obtain government subsidies, while giving the project the imprimatur of community support.

Accordingly, we urge that you be cautious about giving input into the CBA, as doing so might result in your unwittingly endorsing the project. At the very least, you will be legitimizing the closed, under-inclusive process.

The undersigned organizations urge their CB members to pass resolutions and take appropriate steps such that the CBA will truly represent the affected communities. To that end we ask that you:

PUT ON RECORD that you are not in a position to give input on behalf of the community until you have received input from the community in a widely advertised community wide hearing where each citizen attending can speak for 3 minutes. Each community boardęs public hearing should take place on different nights so the public is able to attend each hearing.

PUT ON RECORD that the communities need to be fully apprised of all the particulars of the proposal before any meaningful comments can be offered. This should include a full accounting of all public subsidies being requested. This process should also include fact-finding on alternative development options such as the community plan initiated by Councilmember Letitia James and lead architect Marshall Brown.

PUT ON RECORD, if you find that the proposed counterparties to the CBA (ACORN, BUILD and DBAOC) do not provide sufficient representation of the affected communitiesăand recent studies by an independent urban planning group indicate they do not2ăthe CBs must work to identify a group of organizations that represent a genuine cross section of our communities. CBA negotiations ideally include those community groups who have vigorously voiced a wide range of concerns about the proposal. The integrity of your Board must not be compromised by creating a false impression, of support and representation, among the citizens of your community that only serves the developeręs goals.3

PUT ON RECORD
that it is a disservice to require the CBs to offer comments in two weeks. The CBs should not be rushed when what is needed is a far-reaching effort to gather the concerns of members of the community ® a process that will require a few months.

While the CBs are being told that this might be their last chance to give input into the project and that not doing so would be irresponsible of them, the truth is that FCRC recognizes that an illusion of support from the communities and CBs facilitate the receipt of government subsidies and allay investors' concerns of delay. Thus, we urge the CBs to recognize that they are in the advantageous position to make the CBA truly representative of the communities' concerns and needs, and, therefore, they should not be rushed into "approving" an agreement representative of a flawed process.

Upon reviewing the CBA outline, the Traffic and Transportation Committee and the Land Use Committee of CB2 passed resolutions on October 19 and 20 stating that they will not participate in any CBA until the community has received all information about, and full disclosure on public financing for the proposed project, and until public hearings on the project take place.

We urge all the community boards to pass similar resolutions on behalf of our communities.

(1) See "Community Benefits Agreement: Making Development Projects Accountable," by Julian Gross, Greg LeRoy and Madeline Janis-Aparicio.

(2) See –Prospect Heights Neighborhood Survey”, by the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environment Development.

(3) Just this week Forest City Ratner mailed hundreds of thousands of Atlantic Yards promotional fliers to Brooklynites. The contents of this flier imply that CB 2,6, 8 are supporting the FCR proposal.


Respectfully yours,

Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association (AABA)
Brooklyn Bear's Community Gardens
Brooklyn Vision
Dean Street Block Association.
Develop ® Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDb)
Fort Greene Association (FGA)
Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus (FROGG)
Park Slope Greens
Pratt Area Community Council (PACC)
People Against Urban Removal
Prospect Heights Action Coalition (PHAC)
Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council (PHNDC)
South Portland Block Association
Good Jobs New York


Cc: Members of Community Boards 2, 6, 8
Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Borough President Marty Markowtiz
Council Member Letitia James
Council Speaker Gifford Miller
State Senator Velmanette Montgomery
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver
Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno
Congressman Major Owens

Untitled Document
Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn's
Position Statement


For ALL the latest news, visit:
No Land Grab.org

Arena M.O.U.s

Memorandums of Understanding have been signed with NYC and NY State.
MOU with NYC & NYS
MTA Letter to Forest City Ratner

Develop-Don't Destroy Brooklyn is advocating to bring greater transparency, government accountability and community involvement to the development of the Atlantic Yards area in Brooklyn. We challenge Bruce Ratner's proposed Nets Arena and 17 Highrise development plan for the area.
What is Ratner proposing?

People in Brooklyn may want the Nets, but no one wants a secret, taxpayer- subsidized sweetheart deal forced on Brooklyn’s communities. We want a development plan that's good for Brooklyn, not simply good for Mr. Ratner and his friends.
What's wrong with Ratner's proposal?

Develop-Don’t Destroy Brooklyn leads a broad-based community coalition fighting for development that will unite our communities instead of dividing and destroying them.
DDDb's list of achievements.



Wednesday, March 16, 12pm. Forest City-Atlantic Yards Informational Luncheon. Gargiulo's Restaurant 2911-15 West 15th Street, Coney Island. POSTPONED.POSTPONED.

The Chamber of Commerce event is billed as "A presentation to formally introduce the Atlantic Yards project to businesses in the outer parts of the borough.  The presentation will cover how the project will benefit all Brooklyn businesses."

Come, let them know the reality and have some good food.

Chamber Members and Non Chambers Members Free.  Contact: Yuk Ling Lo 718-875-1000 ext. 116. More info.

Wednesday, March 16, 7:30pm. Thy Neighbor's House: A Forum on Inclusionary Zoning and Affordable Housing in New York City.
Old First Reformed Church
126 Seventh Avenue (@ Carroll Street) Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Good zoning laws can preserve housing for poor and middle-income people. We want to maintain the economic and cultural diversity of our neighborhoods. What's the way forward? Is there hope? How can we do this?

Featuring Brad Lander, Director, Pratt Institute Center for Community & Environmental Development (PICCED) and David Yassky, New York City Council Member, 33rd District

Sponsored by the Social Action Committee of Old First Reformed Church, the Fifth Avenue Committee and Park Slope Neighbors. .

Thursday, March 17, 7pm. CENTRAL BROOKLYN INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATS: Candidate Forum. Park Slope United Methodist Church, 6th Ave. & 8th Street in the basement (enter through the garden gate on 6th Ave). Candidate Forum
Invited candidates:
-- Gifford Miller, candidate for Mayor

-- Norman Siegel, candidate for Public Advocate

The public is welcome to monthly Club meetings. Refreshments will be served. More info.

PRINT IT! PUT IT IN YOUR WINDOW!
Download the SUPERSIZE POSTER now.
Yup, that's Ratner's plan for residential Brooklyn. (pdf file)

The UNTY Development Plan initiated by Councilwoman Letitia James (PDF)



No Land Grab.net: Archives of news articles and letters from the community

Fans For Fair Play.com: Challenging Bruce Ratner's Brooklyn Atlantic Yards Project

New York Games.org: News and Views on the New York Olympic Bid/And Ratner's Arena Proposal

Field of Schemes: The Source on Stadium Scams/Schemes

Dope on the Slope Blog: Chronicling the Brooklynization of two Tennessee hillbillies

DailyHeights.com: Good Blogging Coverage of Ratner and Real Estate

www.DANDOCTOROFF.com: 'Nuff Said.

Olympic Bloomdoggle

Eminent Domain Watch: A Blog About Eminent Domain in the News

Tenant.net: The online resource for residential tenants


NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMBERS
NEW YORK STATE SENATORS
Senator Velmanette Montgomery's Website
GOVERNOR GEORGE PATAKI
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG
BOROUGH PRESIDENT MARTY MARKOWITZ
NEW YORK STATE CONGRESSMEN/WOMEN
SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON

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