Saturday, June 25, 2011

Forest City Ratner tries damage control on issue of rat infestation as Times and Patch follow up (updated)

Both Patch and the New York Times covered the meeting on rats last night (my coverage here). Both articles show Forest City Ratner scrambling to address an issue for which they likely have significant but hardly full responsibility.

In Patch

The Patch article, Atlantic Yards Rat Meeting Elicits Lots of Horror Stories, Few Solutions, quotes an unnamed Forest City Ratner spokesman:
I refuse to accept that they will not bait outside the construction area,” said James, who heads the City Council’s sanitation committee....

Approached today, Forest City Ratner [sic] said he would look into the community’s requests, but said that Ratner has had a rodent control plan in place for more than two years, “beginning long before construction started” and “will continue to revisit the program to assess the impact.”
In the Times

The Times article, currently a blog post but perhaps a later print articlenot in today's paper, is headlined In Brooklyn, the Rats Move Out Before the Nets Move In and quotes spokesman Joe DePlasco:
On Friday, a spokesman for the developer, Joe DePlasco, issued a statement: “We have had a rodent control plan in place for over two years, beginning long before construction started. We are working very closely with Empire State Development and will continue to revisit the program to assess the impact. We will also continue to work with other parties, including the M.T.A., Department of Health and elected officials to address the issue.”
I posted a comment:
The issue, not quite clear in this generally solid article, is that the required "rodent control plan in place for over two years" mentioned by Forest City Ratner's spokesman is limited to the project site itself, but residents have ample reason to believe that rodent control is needed beyond the project site.

So the question, as I reported in my blog, is whether the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) will force Forest City Ratner to do more.

The ESDC's Arana Hankin said that, while she doesn't have the authority to make Forest City Ratner pay for rodent control beyond the site footprint, she will take up the issue with the Department of Health. "If they feel it's necessary we'll have a strong case to force Forest City Ratner to do so."
By the way, the Brooklyn Paper sent a reporter, but no story has emerged yet. Not Friday. Not first thing Saturday.

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