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

An RSVP for Monday ESD meeting set to approve Belmont arena gives a lie to "building procedures" that typically deter attendees

Empire State Development yesterday issued a Media Advisory (right) announcing a short-notice meeting of the board of directions on Monday, July 8 at 3 pm to accept and approve--as per the agenda--the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Belmont Park redevelopment project, i.e., the new Islanders arena.

That presumably will include information about--and/or be timed to coordinate with an announcement about--plans for a new Long Island Rail Road station to serve the arena.

Could all be finished by the 2021-22 season, as long projected? That's what they're aiming for, and construction at this location avoids the complications of a dense urban site. However, large projects like this are inherently complex.

About "building procedures"

But I'd like to focus on one seemingly small aspect of the Media Advisory. As highlighted in the screenshot at right, the advisory for the meeting states, "Due to building procedures, those attending should RSVP by 2:00 p.m. on Monday, July 8, 2019."

In other words, they need one hour notice. That's not unreasonable. But it contrasts significantly with the ESD's standard procedure, as shown in the second screenshot, to require RSVPs by 5 pm on the previous business day.

In that screenshot, from an announcement of a meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, it similarly attributes the requirement to "building procedures." But that's clearly a pretext for this state authority to keep people away from a meeting, especially via a last-minute rallying effort.

I sometimes forget: entities like Empire State Development are actually supposed to work for us, the public, even as they serve as a tool of the governor.

The ESD notice further confirmed what I had noticed earlier this year. I had to attend an event at another office in the building and, strangely enough, there were no "building procedures" that required an RSVP the previous day.

A lingering question regarding the Belmont arena

The biggest questions regarding the arena surely concern the location, timing, budget, and payment sources for that LIRR station.

However, In a 6/13/19 article headlined Pipeline rulings may affect Belmont arena, the Queens Chronicle raised questions about decisions by the states of New Jersey and New York to reject plans by Williams Companies to build a proposed 37-mile natural gas pipeline across New York Harbor to Breezy Point in Queens.

The article noted that Williams has resubmitted its plans to both states and suggested that New York State officials weren't worried:
In an email to the Chronicle, Jack Sterne, a spokesman for the Empire State Development Corp., said they do not se the pipeline impasse as an obstacle.
“We are confident the Belmont Redevelopment Project can move forward regardless of the pipeline’s status," he wrote. "Our experts continue to work with the development team to explore all alternative options — efforts which will be outlined in our Final Environmental Impact Statement.”
Stern, by the way, told Newsday, as published 6/27/19:
“We know that Long Islanders feel passionately about this project, and we are in the process of scheduling a board meeting in July specifically to release the Final Environmental Impact Statement,” Sterne said. “Fans, community members and local leaders can rest assured that at this time, we do not expect any major effect on the arena’s scheduled opening.”
The Island Now, in an editorial published 7/2/19, called the delayed pipeline--aimed for winter 2020, so before arena opening--a threat to businesses large and small. Consider, though, that New York State regulators also answer to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and presumably would not want to hamper an arena he supports.

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