Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Few Attend Low-Key Atlantic Yards Hearing

As it turns out, the Empire State Development Corporation's "community forum" on the Atlantic Yards development bore only passing similarity to the "raucous" public hearing held on August 23. The New York Times described the meeting as "small and civil," and largely dominated by supporters of the project as many opponents stayed away:
Previous hearings have generally been both oversubscribed and highly uncivil, but many of yesterday’s attendees were able to speak nearly uninterrupted by boos or catcalls.

But that discussion was largely one-sided. Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, the umbrella organization for individuals and groups opposed to the project, called on opponents to boycott yesterday’s meeting, urging them instead to “participate in the electoral process.”
Norman Oder, in Atlantic Yards Report described it like this:
If a Martian had attended the community forum yesterday on the Atlantic Yards plan, the visitor would’ve concluded that citizens—except for a group of construction workers, a few community activists, two happy property sellers, and some other locals—weren’t much exercised about what would be the largest development in the history of Brooklyn.

There were perhaps 125 people in New York City Tech’s Klitgord Auditorium in Downtown Brooklyn, a room that can hold more than 800, and the mostly low-key hearing, scheduled from 4:30 to 8 pm, was over before 7 pm. By contrast, the epic and raucous hearing Aug. 23 lasted seven hours and left hundreds of people frustrated that they couldn't get in and/or testify.
The final "community forum" takes place next week on September 18. The public comment period closes at 5:30 PM on September 29.

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