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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

With ESD offering barely a month to prepare for public hearings, Belmont arena seems a "done deal"

NY report: Islanders development at Belmont would boost congestion, Newsday reported 12/6/18, indicating that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) for the new arena at Belmont Park would cause traffic that could only partly be mitigated but otherwise would not cause untoward impacts. (Here's the Draft EIS.)

The key passage in the article, though, was this:
Board members of the Empire State Development Corporation, the state's economic development agency, adopted the study in a unanimous vote Thursday, starting a public comment period. Public hearings on the environmental impact will be held for three days beginning Jan. 8, and written comments will be accepted through Feb. 11.
That deserved a little more context. First, board members of ESD almost never disagree. They work for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who wants the deal done, with the developers aiming for a May construction start. (That's probably why Newsday editorial writer Randi Marshall, in a 2/1/18 tweet, pronounced Belmont a "done deal.")

Second, one month to prepare for a public hearing is a deterrent to laypeople but standard operating procedure--remember the Draft EIS for Atlantic Yards in July 2006? The public hearing was less than five weeks later.

Third, and unmentioned (at least in this article), the environmental review is being prepared by AKRF, the go-to environmental consulting firm preferred for big projects like Atlantic Yards and this.

Fourth, the same process--albeit facing a broader range of public concern and opposition--will involve Amazon's new campus in Queens.

What will rail cost?

Newsday's coverage notes a lot of wiggle room:
According to the report, two additional LIRR trains from Jamaica Station to Belmont Station would bring fans to Islanders games and other events at the proposed arena.
New York Arena Partners, the Islanders’ development team, would contribute an unspecified amount of funding for the added rail service, officials have said.
ESD said state officials are working with the LIRR to explore opportunities for a full-time station at Belmont. Currently, there is no plan for a commuter station at the site, state officials said Thursday.
That's also under Cuomo's direction.

Norman Siegel, who represents the Belmont Park Community Coalition (and once repped Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn in its early days challenging Atlantic Yards) warned of a potential lawsuit. “They are not addressing adequately the transportation issue," Siegel said, according to Newsday "They talk about exploring possibilities. That’s speculative. They need to take a hard look and have definitive answers.”

That term--"hard look"--is the legal standard. But it's not that hard to meet. That's not to say that opponents couldn't gum up the works, for a period of time. But winning in court is very difficult, as the Atlantic Yards example showed.

(Update) The Coliseum fallback

If you're wondering what happens if the purported 2021 Belmont arena opening is delayed, well, readers pointed to this 7/20/18 article in Islanders Point Blank, which cites a potential two-year extension to play at the Nassau Coliseum.

According to a source: "Brooklyn is a lame-duck arena, so for the most part only Islander fans who want to go to the Coliseum all the time will be coming out to Barclays anyway," the source said. "And the players...they care about just a few things: the location, the ice, the home team locker room and where they get to park their cars. The Islander players love the Coliseum."

And, given that BSE Global is in charge of both Barclays and the Coliseum, it's understandable that the company would push games at the Coliseum.

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