Skip to main content

Perkins sets hearing January 5 on Columbia University eminent domain case, need for reforms

The Senate Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, chaired by Senator Bill Perkins, will hold a hearing 4-7 pm on Tuesday, January 5, titled "Unconstitutional: What the Appellate Division’s Eminent Domain Ruling Means for the Columbia Expansion."

While the hearing seems focused on the recent decision stopping--for now--the Empire State Development Corporation's pursuit of eminent domain for the Columbia University expansion, some of the broader questions invoke the Atlantic Yards example and situation:
How should the process be reformed? What are the benefits of a moratorium on eminent domain takings pending legislative action?

Note that oral testimony is open to the public, with a three-minute limit, and written testimony is also accepted. It's unclear who's been invited.

Perkins is the most prominent legislative supporter of eminent domain reforms, while Gov. David Paterson backs an appeal by the ESDC to the Court of Appeals.

The court ruled in the other direction in the AY eminent domain case, saying that administrative agencies have significant discretion, so it will be a tough but not impossible challenge for the plaintiffs in the Columbia case.

Hearing Notice

Subject and Purpose: The Appellate Division recently rejected the use of eminent domain to take private property for the expansion of Columbia University. The court found that the Empire State Development Corporation violated both state and federal due process clauses in an effort to prevent affected property owners from obtaining necessary information. ESDC's finding of blight was “bereft of facts” to establish true blight. The ESDC's determination that the project even has a public use, benefit or civic purpose was also called into question. Most troubling of all was the pattern of collusion between the state and Columbia, a private developer trying to utilize the state‟s power of eminent domain to take private property. This was clearly evidenced by the ESDC and Columbia each hiring the exact same consultant to conduct the blight study that served as the rationale for triggering condemnation proceedings.

The abuse of eminent domain is always troubling. As the Appellate Division noted, "few policies have done more to destroy community and opportunity for minorities than eminent domain." In fact, the decision indicated that the ESDC's actions in the Columbia expansion is, “clear evidence of that reality. The unbridled use of eminent domain not only disproportionately affects minority communities, but threatens basic principles of property contained in the Fifth Amendment.”

During this hearing the Committee will inquire into the facts revealed by the ruling and the current status of the Columbia University expansion project. What does the ruling tell us about the eminent domain process? How should the process be reformed? What are the benefits of a moratorium on eminent domain takings pending legislative action? What are the consequences for all stakeholders in this case, not just the litigants, but also the community, displaced tenants and property owners? How will this ruling affect the Community Benefits Agreement? These are just some of the questions that will be considered.

Location – Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building
163 W. 125th Street, 2nd Floor Art Gallery
New York, New York 10027
Tuesday, January 5, 2010 – 4 pm to 7 pm


Anyone can testify

Reply Form: This hearing is open to the public. Anyone may testify. Persons who require assistance or wish to be added to the Committee mailing list for the Senate Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions are requested to complete this form, and submit it to:
Tom Briggs / Denise Outram
Office of Senator Bill Perkins, Chair
Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee
New York State Senate
Legislative Office Building 817, Albany, NY 12247
Phone: 518-455-2441, Fax: 518-426-6809
Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building, Suite 912
New York, NY 10027
Phone: 212-222-7315, Fax: 212-678-0001

Oral testimony will be limited to three (3) minutes per witness. Witnesses are asked to submit electronic copies of their testimony to tobriggs@senate.state.ny.us or deeoutram@gmail.com by January 4, 2010 or bring 10 paper copies of testimony to the hearing.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

So, Forest City has some property subject to the future Gowanus rezoning

Writing yesterday, MAP: Who Owns All the Property Along the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo's Leslie Albrecht lays out the positioning of various real estate players along the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site:
As the city considers whether to rezone Gowanus and, perhaps, morph the gritty low-rise industrial area into a hot new neighborhood of residential towers (albeit at a fraction of the height of Manhattan's supertall buildings), DNAinfo reviewed property records along the canal to find out who stands to benefit most from the changes.
Investors have poured at least $440 million into buying land on the polluted waterway and more than a third of the properties have changed hands in the past decade, according to an examination of records for the nearly 130 properties along the 1.8-mile canal. While the single largest landowner is developer Property Markets Group, other landowners include Kushner Companies, Alloy Development, Two Trees, and Forest City New York.

Forest City's plans unc…