Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Today's AY CDC board meeting: presentation on open space, then a vote to endorse changes (where's the transparency?)

AY CDC responsibilities
Today will be an interesting milestone for the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC), established last year as a partial concession to community concerns about project oversight. (It was secondary to an agreement to set a new construction schedule.)

The AY CDC's responsibilities include monitoring developer compliance with public commitments, monitoring quality of life issues, and "reviewing proposed changes to Project plan and agreements, and advising ESD board accordingly in advance of votes."

So the latter is apparently on the agenda (bottom) for today's (hastily announced) AY CDC meeting.

Open space changes, and a fishy sequence

Not only will the AY CDC board observe a presentation about the "open space concept design" by landscape architect Thomas Balsley--not a "park," as I wrote 7/7/15--it also will vote on an authorization "to recommend" that the board of parent Empire State Development (ESD) approve modifications to the open space design guidelines.

That strikes me as fishy. First, the opportunity for public comment, as noted in the agenda, comes after this agenda item. If the board members are supposed to reflect or canvass public opinion, shouldn't they wait?

(Update: there was opportunity for public comment after each agenda item, as well as a general opportunity for public comment. Still, members of the public only learned of proposed changes at the meeting.)

More importantly, the proposed modifications have not been shared with the public--AY CDC board materials get posted after the meetings, though ESD board materials are posted very shortly before meetings.

So there's little chance board members have had an opportunity to get feedback. (Not that most board members have displayed significant engagement.)

If so, that suggests the AY CDC is being used as a rubber stamp.

Perhaps these changes are relatively minor but bureaucratically necessary. (Did they move up the AY CDC meeting from its tentatively scheduled August date to today in order to get the recommendation done before the next ESD meeting?)

But it suggests a worrisome pattern. When larger changes emerge, will they be sprung on the public with one day's hint and no opportunity for informed comment?

The agenda



No comments:

Post a Comment