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Release: April 5,
26 Co-Petitioners File Lawsuit Against
Empire State Development Corporation,
PACB, MTA and Forest City Ratner Companies
Community Lawsuit Seeks to Annul Fatally Flawed
Environmental Impact Statement and Approval of
Forest City Ratner's "Atlantic Yards"Project
BROOKLYN, NY— Today twenty-six co-petitioners filed an Article
78 and Declaratory Judgment lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court (New York
County) to annul the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and approval
of Forest City Ratner's "Atlantic Yards"project. The suit alleges that
former Governor Pataki's Empire State Development Corporation's (ESDC) FEIS was
fatally flawed on substantive and procedural grounds. (Read
a summary of the complaint).
Annulment of the FEIS would require the undertaking of a new and credible
environmental impact analysis by Governor Spitzer's ESDC, and a new vote
by the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB) for the 22-acre, 16-skyscraper,
and arena real development plan in Prospect Heights and Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Defendants on the suit include the ESDC, the PACB, the MTA and Forest City
Ratner Companies (FCRC).
The suit also seeks to enjoin demolition with a preliminary injunction.
The lawsuit has broad community support with co-petitioners representing all of
the communities surrounding the project site, and beyond, including: Develop
Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB), the 41-member coalition Council
of Brooklyn Neighborhoods (CBN), New York Public Interest Research
Group (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 fifteen other
community organizations and block associations.
Jeffrey S. Baker
of Young, Sommer, Ward, Ritzenberg, Baker & Moore is the lead attorney.
"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. "Our suit seeks to 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 a fresh look from Governor Spitzer, his new ESDC and MTA, and the
"It has been clear for a long time that the ESDC set out to approve Mr. Ratner's
project by any means necessary, rather than work on behalf of the public and protect
it from the extreme negative impacts of a project of this scale and extreme density.
The ESDC served the public poorly by producing an unrealistic environmental review
while grossly under-reporting the impacts, refusing to demand mitigation of those
impacts, and basically ignoring all substantial public input. That is why we were
compelled to file this lawsuit on behalf of and along with the other 25 co-petitioners
who stand with us today,"said DDDB legal chair Candace Carponter.
"It is striking to note that the ESDC did not demand or effectuate even
one significant change or modification of the project Forest City Ratner
proposed at the start of the environmental review process."
"The Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods provided every possible assistance
to the ESDC to help them arrive at a fair and impartial assessment of the
impacts of this project. CBN conducted an extensive survey of community
members in response to the Draft Scope of Analysis; engaged highly qualified
consultants to decipher and analyze the Draft EIS; successfully engaged
citizens in providing extensive comments to the ESDC; and reported all of
the information gathered to the ESDC freely, and within the very short period
of time they dictated," said CBN co-chair Terry Urban.
"Unfortunately, the bulk of the community's input was ignored, and
CBN, with membership from 41 community organizations, is compelled to demand
that such egregious disservice to the public be corrected."
New York City Councilwoman Letitia James, who represents the
district in which the project would be located, said, "The preliminary injunction
sought by this lawsuit would postpone demolition while protecting my community
and constituents for intimidating and premature destruction. Once the buildings
are torn down they cannot be put back, and the injury to the community - a landscape
of empty lots and 'interim surface parking' lots, plus the loss of the familiar
buildings that comprise their neighborhood - is irreparable."
"The huge density of the proposed development would bring more havoc to drivers
and transit riders in downtown Brooklyn, adversely impacting dozens of intersections,"
said Gene Russianoff, senior attorney for the New York Public Interest
Research Group and its Straphangers Campaign. "The environmental impact
statement offers ridiculous suggestions, such as asking transit officials to put
more buses on gridlocked streets, where they will just add to traffic; no suggestions
for giving buses priority are made. To paraphrase my daughters, the EIS is lame.
All legal papers filed can be found here: http://www.dddb.net/FEIS
Petitioners on the lawsuit:
Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn,
of Brooklyn Neighborhoods, Inc.
NY Public Interest Research
Central Brooklyn Independent
Sierra Club, Inc.
Atlantic Avenue Betterment
The Brooklyn Bearâ€™s Gardens, Inc.
Bergen Street-Prospect Heights Block Association, Inc.
Boerum Hill Association,
Brooklyn Vision Foundation, Inc.
Carlton Avenue Association, Inc.
Carroll Street Block Association (5th and 6th Ave), Inc.
North Association, Inc.
Dean Street Block Association, Inc. (4th to 5th Ave)
East Pacific Block Association, Inc.
Fort Greene Association,
Greene Park Conservancy, Inc.
Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus
Park Slope Neighbors,
Park Place-Underhill Avenue Block Association
Prospect Heights Action Coalition
Prospect Place of Brooklyn Block Association, Inc.
Society for Clinton Hill, Inc.
South Oxford Street Block
Portland Avenue Block Association, Inc.
Zen Environmental Studies Institute, Ltd.
DONâ€™T DESTROY BROOKLYN leads a broad-based community coalition
fighting for development that will unite our communities instead of
dividing and destroying them