Monday, December 10, 2012

ESDC attorney reveals plans to proceed with Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement; Draft Scope issued this month, new traffic data will be used in study

Apparently it takes a state Supreme Court justice to get the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) to reveal plans for a Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) regarding the second phase of Atlantic Yards.

At the end of a hearing last Friday (12/7/12) regarding a request for attorneys' fees in the case that forced the ESDC to study the community impacts of a potential 25-year Atlantic Yards buildout, Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman asked, just for informational purposes, the status of the SEIS.

ESDC attorney Philip Karmel said he'd indicated some of the plan in a letter in September to Al Butzel, attorney for the BrooklynSpeaks coalition, which along with a Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) coalition won the ruling.

First, Karmel said, ESDC will issue a Draft Scope for an SEIS--an optional process that welcomes community input to define the issues that need to be studied. (A Draft Scope was issued in 2005 before a Final Scope for the Environmental Impact Statement.)

"We intend to go out with a Draft Scope this month," Karmel said. A public hearing will be held in January or February.

New data

The SEIS, he said, will involved new baseline traffic data that incorporates the impact of Barclays Center operations. (It's not clear whether this will be separate from the post-opening traffic studies already planned by the Department of Transportation and Forest City Ratner.)

The SEIS will involve other new baseline data. "We're planning to do a very thorough EIS," Karmel said.

Friedman asked if the petitioners had any comment.

DDDB attorney Jeff Baker said he appreciated Friedman's query. "I think it's the most clarity we've had," he said.

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