Thursday, November 19, 2009

New lawsuit challenging AY approval to be announced today by BrooklynSpeaks members, elected officials, others

Groups in the BrooklynSpeaks coalition–originally following a “mend-it-don’t-end-it policy”–today will file their first lawsuit, word of which first emerged last month.

It will be interesting to see how much this case, which challenges the Empire State Development Corporation's approval of the Modified General Project Plan and failure to pursue a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, overlaps with (and may be consolidated with) a case filed by Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn that raises some similar issues.

Notably, the lawyer on the new case is Al Butzel of the Urban Environmental Law Center, who led the legal fight against Westway.

Press conference at 11 am

From the press release:
Prominent civic and community development organizations and local elected officials who represent the communities surrounding the Atlantic Yards project will gather on the steps of City Hall on Thursday, November 19th @ 11am to announce the joint filing of a lawsuit that will challenge the ESDC’s approval of the Atlantic Yards Modified General Project Plan.

The suit contends that the plan was approved without sufficient study of the impacts of its extended construction schedule and completion risks. It also alleges that the ESDC has illegally delegated to FCRC much of its governmental power to determine the future content and configuration of the Project. Groups and elected officials filing suit include the Atlantic Avenue LDC, the Brooklyn Heights Association, the Boerum Hill Association, the Fifth Avenue Committee, the Park Slope Civic Council, the Pratt Area Community Council, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Assemblyman Jim Brennan and City Councilmember Letitia James. Attorney Albert K. Butzel of the Urban Environmental Law Center is representing the plaintiffs.

As sponsors of the BrooklynSpeaks initiative, the organizations have tried for three years to engage the ESDC regarding impacts of the Atlantic Yards project on the surrounding communities. This includes putting forth a thoughtful proposal for the governance of the project which proposed a strong advisory role for local elected officials and community residents currently excluded from any meaningful participation.

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