Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Eminent domain plaintiffs withdraw timetable allegation

Plaintiffs in the Atlantic Yards eminent domain federal lawsuit last month argued that the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) violated the state Eminent Domain Procedure Law because the agency did not make the Determination and Findings "within 90 days of the stated close of the public hearing" on 8/23/06.

And I wrote that Section 204(a) of EDPL seemed clear, stating:
The condemnor, within ninety days after the conclusion of the public hearings held pursuant to this article, shall make its determination and findings concerning the proposed public project...

Jeffrey Baker, an attorney for Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and the plaintiffs, told the Brooklyn Paper January 27, "The state violated the 90 days and anyone looking at a calendar can see that.”

However, the law as developed does not reflect that apparently plain language (and the plaintiffs' attorneys apparently missed that). In subsequent legal filings, the ESDC and fellow defendant Forest City Ratner pointed to a 1990 case in which state courts determined that the 90-day period does not begin until the close of the period for the submission of written comments. Thus, the sequence regarding the Atlantic Yards project did conform to the law, and the plaintiffs have withdrawn that claim.

Oral arguments are scheduled for Wednesday at 2 p.m. in federal court in Brooklyn.

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