Skip to main content

Most derided part of the DEIS? The shut-in solution to noise

Let's say you live on Dean Street or Carlton Avenue near the proposed Atlantic Yards project. The construction of a ridge of towers nearby would be quite noisy, and so would the future traffic, as the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) issued by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) acknowledges.

The solution: batten down the hatches. And if you don't have double-glazed windows and air conditioning, Forest City Ratner will buy them for you.

The only problem: you have to stay inside.

The failure in that proposed mitigation is obvious not just to opponents and critics of Atlantic Yards, but even to Borough President Marty Markowitz, the project's biggest booster. Perhaps the Final Environmental Impact Statement will propose a better solution.

What the DEIS says

From Chapter 15 of the DEIS, covering Noise:
At most locations in the area where significant noise impacts are predicted to occur, most residences already have either double-glazed windows or storm windows, and many have some form of alternative ventilation (air conditioning). At all of the locations where significant noise impacts are predicted to occur the project sponsors would make these types of noise mitigation measures (i.e., storm windows and alternative ventilation) available, at no cost for purchase and installation, to owners of residences to the extent such measures are already not in place. These measures would mitigate project impacts for residential uses (see Chapter 19, "Mitigation"). At locations where owners elect not to take advantage of these mitigation measures, the proposed project would have unmitigated significant adverse impacts.

Marty disagrees

Borough President Marty Markowitz:
The FEIS [Final EIS] should acknowledge that the measure intended to mitigate noise and air quality problems during construction – providing double-paned windows and air conditioners for residents and community facilities – is not a solution for these problems, only a way to mask them while residents are inside their homes. The FEIS should recommend further mitigation methods so that these impacts are lessened in outdoor spaces.

An outraged neighbor

Boerum Hill resident Anders Thomsen:
The fact is that the DEIS does not provide any viable reroute of traffic. Instead the mitigations include installation of storm windows and a/c units for affected residents. First of all, this is making mockery of the affected residents. Are they no longer to have a conversation on their stoop outside their own house? The NYC noise code clearly states that we, the residents, have the right to enjoyment of our property (whether rented or owned) free of intrusive and excessive noise.

By offering storm window and A/C units to affected residents, the DEIS indirectly admits that the stoop facing the streets will be encroached upon by excessive and permanent noise pollution as a result of the project. Building the project will prevent people from sitting on their stoops and the face of Brooklyn will permanently be altered. That is unacceptable.


An expert's observation

Lehman College professor emerita Arline Bronzaft, in comments for the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods, said:
The DEIS downplays the significant impacts of Project-related noise in residences, with the statement that “most residences already have double-glazed windows or storm windows, and may have some form of alternative ventilation.” If air conditioning and double glazed windows are not in place, consultants note that the Developer would make these available to owners at no cost for purchase and installation.

They do not offer to compensate residents for the cost of running air conditioning for the sole purpose of noise mitigation. Given that accepting the proffered mitigation will obligate residents to an ongoing and perhaps unexpected expense, it is very possible some will not accept the material required by the mitigation.

In this event the DEIS draft consultants state that the proposed project would have “unmitigated significant adverse impacts.” This conclusion does not go far enough. It is improper to characterize an obligatory expense being transferred to local residents as mitigation. Therefore, the DEIS has not proposed any significant mitigation and the condition of construction related and ongoing Project related noise remains an unmitigated negative impact for an unknown percentage of the population.

The consultants believe that by sealing people in their homes, the expected significant noise impacts will not impact upon them. This assumes that people will agree to be sealed into their homes. In cooler temperatures, people do open up windows and individuals have this right; even in warmer temperatures, individuals may wish to open their windows. People also stroll the streets near their homes.

A residence extends beyond the apartment or the house; it includes the surrounding neighborhood areas as well. The proposed mitigation would undermine Brooklyn’s well-known “stoop culture,” condemning everyone who chose to meet with friends and neighbors on the block to adverse health risks. It would also undermine any benefits there might be to the network of “publicly accessible open space” planned for the project.

On the one hand the plan promises more than seven acres of public open space and then tells residents to stay in their apartments with their windows shut.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming (post-dated pinned post)

Click on graphic to enlarge. This is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change, and the project is already well behind that tentative timetable.


Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Not quite the pattern: Greenland selling development sites, not completed condos

Real Estate Weekly, reporting on trends in Chinese investment in New York City, on 11/18/15 quoted Jim Costello, a senior vice president at research firm Real Capital Analytics:
“They’re typically building high-end condos, build it and sell it. Capital return is in a few years. That’s something that is ingrained in the companies that have been coming here because that’s how they’ve grown in the last 35 years. It’s always been a development game for them. So they’re just repeating their business model here,” he said. When I read that last November, I didn't think it necessarily applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (outside of the Barclays Center and B2 modular apartment tower), by the Greenland Group, owned significantly by the Shanghai government.
A majority of the buildings will be rentals, some 100% market, some 100% affordable, and several--the last several built--are supposed to be 50% market/50% subsidized. (See tentative timetable below.)

Selling development …