of the Proposal and Fight
- Mr. Ratner owns the Nets.
- He doesn't own the Atlantic Rail Yards.
- He doesn't own most of the privately owned property he seeks to purchase
or have condemned by the state.
- He doesn't have the financing for his project.
- The NBA has not voted to approve moving the team to Brooklyn
THE UNIFORM LAND USE REVIEW PROCEDURE
The call to keep the proposal under city review through ULURP
(The Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) is gaining traction, while Ratner
and his political supporters still push for a state run project. Community
Boards 2, 6 and 8 have all unanimously called for ULURP. Councilwoman
Tish James continues to lobby her colleagues to call for ULURP.
-- CALLS FOR ULURP ABOUND FROM CIVIC GROUPS:
New York Public
Interest Research Group Memo: ULURP SHOULD APPLY TO THE ATLANTIC YARDS
PROJECT (June 18, 2004)
Join DDDB’s Call for Passage of Albany Legislation Bill Would Require
City Review of Ratner’s Nets Arena Plan
Diverse Communities United in Demanding ULURP Review for 17 High-Rise
Mr. Ratner has not made his numbers clear to the public. An
study concludes that
Forest City Ratner will seek taxpayer subsidies from the city and state
somewhere between $1.1 billion and $690 million. He has yet to receive
financing from City Hall or Albany. New York City's Independent Budget
Office (IBO) has agreed to initiate a third-party economic analysis of
the "Atlantic Yards Proposal."
Forest City Ratner seeks to acquire 11 acres of the MTA rail
yards, and 13 acres of private property and city streets. Mr. Ratner's
corporation has been out in the press saying that they own about 90% of
the proposed site. This is not the case. Mr. Ratner does not own the rail
yards, and he owns only about 20% of the private property he desires.
A rough schedule of the "process" we suspect to occur.
Soon, but we don't know when, a Memorandum of Understanding, an agreement
between the city, state, Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation
will set the approval process along the way.
That will be followed by a public scoping session which will outline the
parameters of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that the project
requires as part of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).
SEQRA does not dictate any particular level of environmental protection.
Rather, it imposes a procedure for considering environmental impacts,
including those the public urges be considered. If the decision-making
body fails to address the impacts it has been notified about in writing,
then the procedure has been violated and can be challenged in court.
The public scoping will be followed by a written Draft EIS, followed by
a public hearing, followed by a final EIS. We can than challenge the EIS
in court. We expect the final EIS to come out in Spring 2005, though it
could be later.
If condemnation through eminent domain is to occur, it would be enacted
at the end of the EIS process sometime in Summer 2005. New York State
must notify stakeholders of condemnation, and we then have 30 days to
challenge the condemnation.
This is a VERY rough schedule because, unfortunately,
the developer and our political leaders have not made the planning process
transparent, and much of the dealing has gone on in backrooms behind closed
doors. Thats why we call Ratner's proposal a secret tax-payer subsidized
sweetheart backroom deal. That is EXACTLY what it has been to date.
ONGOING COMMUNITY BENEFITS AGREEMENT (CBA) SAGA
Mr. Ratner has announced that the Reverend Daughtry will be the primary
negotiator of a Community Benefits Agreement. This CBA effort is proving
especially rancorous, since the developer, Ratner, is defining who the
community is and picking out who to negotiate with. The group of black
clergy that was originally formed has kicked Rev. Daughtry out of their
group for his "independent" dealings with Mr. Ratner.
Community Boards 2, 6, and 8 made very strong statements back in the early
summer against the process being used since they were being shut out.
It came to light 10 days ago that the chairs of the Boards have been sitting
in on the negotiations for this farcical CBA, but strictly "...in an advisory
position" since they won't be signing it. Some of the Board members are
very upset by this tacit approval of the process and by the fact that
the Chairs haven't said anything to any of them about it in the 3 months
they've been secretly doing this. The Chairs have tried to silence the
ranks by circulating a 2 sided list of wishes that they are calling a
CBA and have asked the members for comment by Monday, October 25. CB2
has rebelled; 2 of the committees have denounced the process and said
they wouldn't be a part of it until there were public hearings and all
the financial information and plans were released. Good for them!
THE NETS TO STAY IN NEW JERSEY?
Also, this past week there have been several news stories about alternate
homes for the Nets if the Brooklyn deal falls through, including a quote
from Bruce Ratner himself!
"In an interview last week, Ratner said that if the Brooklyn deal
fell through, he would make do in New Jersey. "I think it would be
in a situation, we'd probably re-work the Meadowlands or re-do the arena
somehow," he said. "I'm not as negative on the Meadowlands as