Sunday, February 10, 2008

Would there be no way to rebuild Carlton Avenue Bridge? FCR says no

One issue in the legal jousting over the appeal in the lawsuit challenging the Atlantic Yards environmental review is whether the public would be left without a new Carlton Avenue Bridge should the project be stalled.

According to Forest City Ratner, the claim is overblown, though the petitioners' attorney disputes whether completion would be timely.

From a 1/18/08 affirmation by Jeffrey Baker, attorney for the petitioners:
The irreparable nature of the injury caused by the closing of the bridge is not only due to the closing itself, but the planned demolition. If, as expected, Appellants are successful on the appeal, they could be faced with a bridge that has already been demolished without the financial means for its replacement or an extended period of time before it is replaced. That will result in extended significant unmitigated traffic impacts and increase of fire department response times into the indefinite future.
(Emphasis added)

From the 1/25/08 reply (p. 13) by Forest City Ratner attorney Jeffrey Braun:
The Carlton Avenue bridge is being closed and dismantled in accordance with a contract between FCRC and the City of New York. FCRC is contractually obligated to the City to rebuild the bridge, and that obligation is guaranteed by FCRC's publicly owned affiliate, Forest City Enterprises, Inc., which, according to its most recent SEC filings, has total assets of nearly $10 billion. Therefore, petitioners' contention that, were they to prevail on this appeal, there would be no ability to rebuild a bridge, is misguided speculation.

Baker's 1/31/08 response focused on the issue of "extended time" rather than "financial means":
Respondents do not contest that if the bridge is removed and the approvals are annulled, that there is any means to assure that the bridge will be replaced in a timely fashion.

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