Thursday, November 23, 2006

Final EIS delayed only until Monday

So much for a quiet Thanksgiving weekend. Consultants working on the Atlantic Yards Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), which had to be revised to incorporate comments that were missed in the first version released November 15, will have it ready for a 9 a.m. meeting Monday of the board of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), the agency confirmed.

The board again will be asked "to determine that the FEIS is complete," and again will say so. Clearly, that's just a formality. We can't expect the board to actually compare the lengthy document at hand with, for example, the comments submitted. (Apparently, according to the Brooklyn Papers, some of those comments not included came from Prospect Heights resident Raul Rothblatt.)

The board can't act to approve the project for at least ten days, until December 7, when it also will sign off on the environmental review and the approve the use of eminent domain.

Endgame delays?

Then Atlantic Yards would go to the office of State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who could spend up to a week on a review, or waive a review. (Given Hevesi's expressed concern about increasing state debt, there's a good bet that he'd use that week.)

The Public Authorities Control Board (PACB) could theoretically approve the project before the end of the year. Still, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, one of the three voting members of the PACB, is being pressured to delay the vote until the administration of Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer, a fellow Democrat.

In an article yesterday headlined Agency error delays Atlantic Yards approval, Crain's New York Business suggested that approval of the project "will likely be pushed back to 2007." Still, Crain's pointed out, state approval is a lesser hurdle than the pending eminent domain lawsuit.

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