Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Crain's poll on Atlantic Yards project misses the point

On the heels of Crain's New York Business editor Greg David's misinformed column supporting the Atlantic Yards project, Crain's now offers a stilted poll canvassing readers' opinions:
Developer Bruce Ratner's plan for the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn calls for less commercial space than he had originally envisioned, along with 6,800 residential units--nearly a third of which would be affordable housing.
THE POLL QUESTION: Do you agree with the Atlantic Yards plan?
Yes, the housing market is already tight, and the city needs more affordable units
No, the huge development would destroy the borough's character


Given that the developer traded office space for more lucrative luxury condos in May 2005, the question is a little late--and it treats "the Atlantic Yards" as a place rather than a project. More importantly, it ignores the fact that the developer originally promised 50 percent affordable housing, but violated the spirit--if not the letter--of the affordable housing agreement by adding the condos.

It treats the scale and density of the project as a matter of opinion, rather than something that could be assessed by (or at least in relation to) zoning, or evaluated in comparison to other projects.

Alternative questions

What if Crain's had asked:
Developer Bruce Ratner's plan for the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn would provide more than twice as many apartments per acre as any other major project in the city.

Developer Bruce Ratner's plan for the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn would cost the public at least $1.1 billion in subsidies and public costs over 30 years, by the developer's own estimate.

Developer Bruce Ratner's plan for the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn involves a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) in which the CBA signatories accept money from the developer, unlike pioneering CBAs negotiated in Los Angeles, where the signatories consider payments a conflict of interest.

Developer Bruce Ratner's plan for the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn would involve the use of eminent domain for economic development, even though, as suggested in the Supreme Court's Kelo decision, eminent domain is most defensible when it proceeds from a publicly-derived plan for redevelopment, which is absent in this case.


[Update 6/27/06: Initially the vote was 90 percent against, but it later became 65 percent against. It shouldn't be seen as a referendum; this kind of online poll is unscientific and subject to multiple voting.]

1 comment:

  1. even with the spin, the votes are 90% no

    ReplyDelete