Gerges dismisses challenge to condemnation; no barrier to project construction; streets to close March 8
After a month, Supreme Court Justice Abraham Gerges has dismissed a challenge to the condemnation of property needed for the Atlantic Yards project.
While there are other extant legal challenges, there's no bar to construction, and Forest City Ratner has said it would mobilize large numbers of workers shortly after the decision.
It was followed shortly afterward by a community notice stating that Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues and Pacific Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue and between Vanderbilt and Carlton avenues would close on Monday, March 8.
That's one-week notice; at a community meeting last week, a Department of Transportation official was unwilling to specify how much notice would be needed, while City Council Member Letitia James, a project opponent, asked for two weeks.
The Empire State Development Corporation issued a statement:
ESDC is pleased with today’s ruling on the Atlantic Yards condemnation hearing by Justice Gerges of the Brooklyn Supreme Court, and is looking forward to moving ahead with a project that will bring an arena, open space, affordable housing, transportation improvements and thousands of jobs to Brooklyn.Markowitz statement
The streets condemned by ESDC will be closed as of 6:00 am, Monday, March 8, 2010, giving the community a full 7-days notice in addition to the public notice first issued in early January. ESDC is coordinating with Forest City Ratner Companies and the Brooklyn Department of Transportation to update the relevant message boards and otherwise provide notice to the community. While no formal notice period is required under law, in hearing from the community and working with the Department of Transportation, ESDC believes this additional notice period will help the community prepare for anticipated traffic changes while not overly delaying the commencement of principal construction of this eagerly anticipated project.
In terms of those residents occupying condemned property, ESDC has been and will continue to work with occupants to relocate them and anticipates an orderly relocation taking place over the course of the next few months.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz issued a statement:
“Today’s ruling by Judge Abraham Gerges of the New York State Supreme Court, Kings County affecting the Atlantic Yards development means that the creation of much-needed affordable housing, solid union jobs and permanent employment opportunities for Brooklynites can finally begin—and that our nation’s ‘fourth-largest city,’ Brooklyn, USA, will soon have a national professional sports team and a world-class sports and event facility back in our borough after 53 years! Brooklyn’s shovels are, and have been, ready. So, let’s pick them up and get to work!”DDDB statement
Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn issued a statement:
The property owners and tenants fighting for their rights will be considering all of their legal options in light of today's ruling.
"Several overarching legal and financial issues still plague Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, meaning today's extreme measure by New York State to seize ownership of private property is premature," said Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn legal director Candace Carponter. "There are two pending cases, one just completed briefing, and the other is awaiting a judicial ruling. Either would stop Atlantic Yards dead in its tracks and could impact today's ruling."
"Today is a very sad day to be a Brooklynite. Our state government, long mired in corruption and scandal, has bent over backwards to give Bruce Ratner whatever he wants, including my home, and the homes of other citizens. I am angry with our so-called political leaders who proudly stand by their abuse of power," said Daniel Goldstein a spokesman for Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and a homeowner targeted by New York's abuse of eminent domain for Ratner's benefit. "When the most powerful forces in state government collude with the real estate industry, injustices will happen, and today is a result of that."
"But should we win or lose the fight against Atlantic Yards, there is a bright spot. We are on the road to overturning New York's atrocious and abusive eminent domain laws. Senator Bill Perkins’ proposed legislation will bring much-needed reform to these laws that afford no meaningful protections to communities attacked by greedy developers and their political cronies.
Gerges Decision on Atlantic Yards condemnation 3-1-10
Atlantic Yards Street Closings Community Notice 030110