Sunday, June 23, 2013

Assemblyman Mosley says he's concerned about 25-year Atlantic Yards buildout, but hasn't (yet) entered the debate over the SEIS

A 6/21/13 article in Our Time Press, Assemblyman Walter Mosley Tackles Tough Issues, concludes that "he has taken hard stances on issues [including] affordable housing at Atlantic Yards."

I'm not so sure. For example, Mosley, who was elected last year to succeed Hakeem Jeffries in the 57th District, appears to be continuing his predecessor's practice of quiet diplomacy, claiming to be negotiating with state officials while not taking a stand at public forums, notably the 2/27/13 hearing on the scope for a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS).

In other words, Mosley could have testified or sent a press release arguing that the Draft SEIS should look at the alternative of bidding the Phase 2 site out so more developers could complete the project in the original 10-year time frame, rather than the 25-year deadline extended to developer Forest City Ratner when the project was renegotiated in late 2009..

Mosley makes some cogent points in the interview: the economy has changed, and Forest City Ratner is saving money by using modular technology. (Of course, Forest City doesn't want to build an expensive deck over the railyard until it has to.) He still has the opportunity to enter the fray when there's a hearing--likely this summer--on the Draft SEIS.

From the article

Our Time Press reports:
At the top of Mosley’s list is promised affordable housing at Atlantic Yards. Mosley sits on the Corporations and Authorities Committee. He and Committee Chairman Assemblyman Jim Brennan are in consultation with Ken Adams at Empire State Development Corp. “One of the main concerns that we have outstanding is whether or not the building affordable housing is necessary to extend to 25 years,” said Mosley, “as opposed to 10 years that was originally agreed to build the affordable housing component of this project.”

Mosley wants to know why the 15-year extension is needed given that the economy seems to be bouncing back — particularly Wall Street, the dire need for housing and the developer building module components at the Navy Yard which makes for faster building, expediting the entire process. “With all those factors in place, we don’t believe an added 15 years is necessary or will be conducive to the original demands that the community made in lieu of the agreement to build here,” said Mosley. “Clearly, the restraints that they had post-2008 when the market collapsed and the housing bubble burst are not there. That excuse is no longer afforded to them.”

Concerned that local taxpayers see a return on their subsidies for Atlantic Yards, Mosley said he doesn’t want to see people forced out due to attrition because either they are not going to be here, they’ll move or they might not be eligible because maybe their situation changed. “We want to be able to take advantage of affordable housing now,” said Mosley. “We do not want to lose sight of the purpose for why the site was even given the opportunity. It wasn’t about basketball. It wasn’t about the NBA. It wasn’t about the Nets. This is about survival for the middle class and people who want to still live in Brooklyn, who still want to raise their family here in Brooklyn. The world knows about Brooklyn. The borough president did a great job branding Brooklyn. Now it is time for the state to take care of Brooklyn.”

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