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

Meeting of advisory Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation meeting set for Thursday; comments due tomorrow (will board consider neighbors who say construction impacts WFH & school?)

Update 12/9/10, 4 pm: The meeting will now be held at 12 noon.

With less than three days notice, and barely 48 hours before a deadline to submit comments on agenda items, yesterday afternoon we were told that the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC) would meet virtually Thursday, 12/10/20, at 10 am.

The agenda is typically anodyne. It includes a President’s Report, subdivided into a Community Relations Update and Construction Update, as well as Public Comments.

Members of the public may submit comments on the agenda items in writing to AYCDCBdMtg@esd.ny.gov by 4:30 pm on Wednesday, 12/9/20. 

There's no provision for public comment in response to the board's discussion, as was standard when the meetings were held in person.

The public may view and listen to the meeting via webcast. The AY CDC, dominated by gubernatorial appointees, is supposed to advise the gubernatorially-controlled Empire State Development, the state authority that oversees/shepherds Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, but has mostly been a rubber stamp.

That said, a few members have asked challenging questions in the past, and there's ample opportunity to do so, especially about the impacts of construction on neighbors--and ESD's downplaying of those complaints at the most recent Quality of Life meeting, as I later reported.

Items for discussion: construction progress & school

Presumably this meeting will reprise presentations by the developer and ESD at that recent bi-monthly Quality of Life meeting, on 11/17/20, focusing on construction progress at the four ongoing sites: B4 (18 Sixth), B15 (662 Pacific), B12/B13 (615 Dean and 595 Dean).

Will they mention that the middle-school at B15 has been delayed until 2024, as I reported last week?

Items for discussion: the big-picture questions

As I reported, we got no answers on some big questions regarding the project, such as the plan to finish the affordable housing by 2025, when the platform would start, what the affordability level of under-construction buildings would be, and whether/when the public process to transfer bulk from the unbuilt B1 (aka "Miss Brooklyn") to Site 5 might start.

Items for discussion: construction impacts

Neighbors have gathered numerous reports about loud, intrusive construction--some after-hours--that disturbs people's sleep and compromises their pandemic-constrained lives, including work and school from home, as I wrote.

Developer Scott Solish of Greenland USA said, "And so there's no ability to adjust those hours right now, to change the hours of the work day without having significant impacts on the schedule of the project."

However, not only did that disregard work hours that had already been extended to 5 am and 10 pm and to Sundays, that obfuscated the fact that the decision should not merely be made according to the developers' business priorities, but with government oversight that assesses trade-offs.

An ESD rep was dismissive, claiming that construction was "heavily regulated by the Department of Buildings. And they have permits that allow for them to work within a specific time."

After all, construction hours can't be "heavily regulated" by the Department of Buildings if the developers regularly get after-hours variances and--as I reported--even got extended variances to allow work from 5 am to 10 pm, and on Sundays, work that was conspicuously unmentioned in the bi-weekly Construction Alert issued by ESD.

What should be done?

Yesterday, another resident posted a comment (typos cleaned up):
I face the construction from the 550 Vanderbilt side and we could easily double the number of complaints. It's almost impossible to work from home and we're awakened at 7 am everyday. We have an infant that can't nap at home during the day which has been causing us major issues. Where should i be submitting evidence of violations as i record every violation I can see?
Well, the spreadsheet is here. Noise complaints, as well as construction complaints, are supposed to be filed to 311, though they infrequently get responses. Neighbors are welcome to contact me (email in bio) and send video.

That said, Empire State Development is supposed to have its own consultants making sure mitigations are being followed. But the AY CDC should take the neighbors' reports more seriously than the developer and ESD have done so far.

Previous meeting

The AY CDC is supposed to meet quarterly, but the last meeting was 7/28/20, more than four months ago. 

That first-ever virtual meeting was uneventful, lasting less than 40 minutes, and delivering no new insights on important issues like plans for the platform or to meet the 2025 affordable deadline.

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