Tuesday, July 18, 2006

BREAKING: Empire State Development Corp. Accepts Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Statement

The Empire State Development Corp. has announced it has adopted the General Project Plan for the Atlantic Yards project and accepted the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). A public hearing is scheduled in Brooklyn for August 23rd, and another forum is scheduled on September 12. Public comments are being accepted until September 23. In announcing the adoption of the plan ESDC Chair Charles Gargano said Atlantic Yards "will have a lasting impact on the borough."

Atlantic Yards Development Group President Jim Stuckey was quoted in the official release as saying, "While the Draft EIS examines potential impacts that the project may have, we've gone to great lengths to develop innovative programs to mitigate the impact both during construction and after."

The documents contains important details about the project's various impacts which both supporters and opponents have been awaiting. The document, for instance, shows that the total cost of the project has increased from $3.5 billion to $4.2 billion.

The full document is 15 inches thick--the DEIS Executive Summary alone runs to 39 pages--and project opponents immediately jumped on the timetable for public review, hearings and comment. Develop Don't Destroy's Daniel Goldstein called the 60 day review period starting in the dead of summer a "contemptible slap in the face" to Brooklynites.

Both documents (the General Project Plan and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement) are available here. Click here for the PDF of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods greeted the release with the following statement: “While the timing of the release during the summer vacation and while the Community Boards are in recess might strike some as a ‘mid-summer surprise’, CBN and the communities we represent are eager to dig in!" The Council is holding sessions on the document on July 18, 20 and 25.

The release of the DEIS comes two days after a large rally in Grand Army Plaza against the proposed project demonstrated that opponents have gained considerable traction against Atlantic Yards.

Analysis to follow.

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