Friday, December 01, 2006

CBN's Project Report Card faces a deadline for FEIS review

The Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods (CBN) is checking up on the accuracy and thoroughness of responses to comments in the massive Atlantic Yards Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)--and the deadline is Monday.

CBN says:
Project Report Card asks anyone who spoke at the Public Forums or sent a comment into the ESDC to grade the FEIS for responsiveness to their comments generally and by any particular concern that person spoke or wrote about.

So what happens after community members send their comments to CBN? The organization will forward them to the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) to take it into consideration before the ESDC board meeting December 8. The ESDC is widely expected to approve the FEIS, but if enough flaws are found, the agency may be prompted to do what it did once before: pull back the document and revise it for recertification.

"They will only do that if they think the mistakes won't survive litigation," CBN Co-chair Candace Carponter said last night. She noted that the ESDC missed 148 comments that had to be included in the revised FEIS issued on Monday and said that CBN had already learned about at least one other significant comment that was not included.

CBN Secretary Jim Vogel said that another commenter reported that his identification number in the FEIS had been applied to remarks he had not made. Such sloppiness, CBN representatives suggested, reflect the speed with which the ESDC and consultants hired by developer Forest City Ratner completed the FEIS.

Lawsuit coming

She also said that some organizations will use the flaws found in the FEIS as the basis for litigation. Carponter spoke in generalities, as CBN is officially neutral on the Atlantic Yards project and is focused on a thorough analysis of the environmental review.

However, several organizations in CBN are officially opposed to AY and Carponter also serves as the chief legal volunteer for Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, which intends to file a suit challenging the adequacy of EIS process.

The CBN meeting drew about 35 people to the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. While CBN's Vogel said that he's willing to bring a presentation to any organization willing to host it, he said in response to a question that the organization has not made presentations to either local precinct councils or Community Boards.

One of the three affected community boards said that CBN should have approached them six weeks earlier, he reported, while the others "said they'd get back to us."

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