Monday, December 18, 2006

Major Groups Join Those Asking Public Authorities Control Board to Delay Atlantic Yards Vote

With a final vote by the Public Authorities Control Board on Atlantic Yard possible on Wednesday, more groups are calling for a delay in the decision. There will be an event at City Hall today at 1PM at which a group of "citywide and national civic groups — joined by new voices and elected officials" calling on the obscure, yet very powerful, Public Authorities Control Board "to vigorously scrutinize the financial details of Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project before voting on it." The verbiage is from a Municipal Arts Society press release as conveyed by No Land Grab.

Among the groups now calling for a delay are the Regional Plan Association, the Natural Resources Defense Council and New Yorkers for Parks. Says the release: "Citing the absence of a full financial disclosure for the project and a failure to meaningfully address issues identified by the environmental impact statement, the groups will unite to urge the three PACB members to refrain from voting on the project at their next scheduled meeting on Wednesday, December 20."

The event is clearly aimed at Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who is the only member of the PACB who might try to delay a final vote, and at Gov.-elect Eliot Spitzer. Both Silver and Spitzer have voiced support for the project, but might want to scrutinize it further. Silver is the only person on the three-member board whose vote to approve Atlantic Yards is not a given.

What will Mr. Silver do? Will his known dislike for Gov. Pataki lead him to deliver a parting blow? What has Gov. Spitzer asked him to do? Will hard lobbying by pro-Atlantic Yards factions make a difference? Has the "scrutinize more" crowd had an impact? Are the major groups that are now aligned against a rushed Atlantic Yards approval before the end of Gov. Pataki's term going to make a difference?

So many questions, but we'll know on Wednesday. Or, possibly, December 28, which would be the next PACB meeting after Wednesday.


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