Monday, August 24, 2009

With one week to go before comment deadline, no news about the second community information session

A week ago, I reported how I've been asking when the promised second community information session about Atlantic Yards would be held.

The first was held on July 22, with representatives of developer Forest City Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) facing some tough questions.

No second session has been announced yet, even as the August 31st deadline for comments approaches.

CEO Lago promised second session

At the June 23 board meeting of the ESDC, then-CEO Marisa Lago told the ESDC directors (according to my recording), "Today's meeting is the beginning of the public process that is required for the modification of the General Project Plan.... The public hearing will be preceded by a 30-day notice. If at the public hearing there is adverse testimony, the matter will come back to the directors, and the directors will then be asked to consider the testimony at the public hearing and determine finally whether to finally adopt the amendments to the General Project Plan. So this is the first meeting of the ESDC board, to be followed by a public hearing on 30 days notice, a public hearing in the community, and then to be followed by a second ESDC board meeting."

"Knowing the interest in this project, we have committed to have additional community sessions beyond what is required," she continued. "And we will be having a community session--a question-and-answer session in the community--before the public hearing and then another after the public hearing. And at those community sessions, there will be the opportunity for community questions to be answered."

Was second session supposed to be within comment period?

So, was that second session supposed to be held before the August 31 deadline for comments or just sometime before the ESDC board meets in September to reconsider the plan?

Lago said, "So, in total, there will be a multi-month process, in which there will be opportunity for input, and the testimony at the public hearing will be summarized and presented to the directors at a subsequent board meeting."
(Emphasis added)

Though Lago's words weren't precise, the implication was that the community information sessions would help residents formulate input to the ESDC board, including comments at the public hearing and comments submitted in writing. 

That means the second session would have to be held before the comment period closes. 

There are seven days left.

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