Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Daily News: complaints about overnight jackhammering, railyard lights backdrop for today's court argument

On the eve of today's oral argument over the Atlantic Yards environmental review, the Daily News offers Atlantic Yards project causes sleepless nights in Prospect Heights: All night jackhammering driving Dean St. residents crazy.

There are actually two sets of concerns, with the headlined one involving overnight "jackhammering for utility work" conducted by Con Edison needed for the arena:
“It’s horrible,” said Gary Wiebke, 52, who lives on Dean St. “The noise levels are astounding. Our building shimmies, it shakes.”

Residents said the work on the electrical upgrades goes on until 6 a.m. - and about an hour later, construction work on the arena starts... Wiebke said a tenant who rented the apartment across the hall from him moved out after less than a week because he couldn’t take it."
What's not clear is whether there's an alternative: either daytime work, or work using equipment that better attenuates noise, as the state and contractors have promised following other complaints.

(Note that Dean Street near Fifth Avenue is actually in Park Slope.)

Flood lights through the night

Now that Forest City Ratner is on an accelerated schedule to finish the Carlton Avenue Bridge by September, flood lights at the Vanderbilt Yard are on til 3 am:
Wayne Bailey, 57, who lives across from the yard, said as bad as the noise are the blinding flood lights that make it bright enough to read a book at midnight. “It is so extreme, it’s so glaring, it’s such light pollution that kids can’t go to sleep,” he said.
“This is a circumstance they created for themselves," Peter Krashes of the Dean Street Block Association. They shouldn’t be let off the hook.”

But they can be, unless there's effective oversight.

Today's case

The Daily News says "ongoing noise problems will be one of the issues on the table" today at the court hearing.

Maybe, maybe not. The case essentially covers the need for additional review of the project's second phase. However, the issue of the state's mitigation plans has been raised by the petitioners, coalitions led by Brooklyn Speaks and Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn. Their lawyers wrote:
ESDC lays considerable emphasis on the mitigation plan that it is required to implement, suggesting that this will work to mitigate any additional impacts of the extended build-out. But that plan does not address such impacts as long-term cumulative effects, since these were never identified, nor does the plan consider mitigation that might offset or reduce the loss of open space or the extended duration of surface parking on Block 1129. Furthermore, while not a matter of record, the current mitigation plans as set forth in the Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments are not being effectively enforced.
So current mitigation plans--or the ineffectiveness thereof--are "not a matter of record." But they may have some bearing.

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