The next weeks are very important for the future shape of our community, perhaps the most important in years. If we all work together, we can make a difference.
In 2009 New York State and Forest City Ratner broke the law when they failed to assess how our community may be negatively impacted by twenty-five years of Atlantic Yards construction instead of ten. They chose to put us at risk in order to secure expiring federal tax abatements for the arena. Together, with the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, we sued and won.
Finally, as part of a court ordered process, a hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday evening, April 30th, and we can submit written statements until May 12th. Our block association is coordinating an effort to get local residents to speak at the hearing on the 30th, and also to write personal statements for the 12th.
Our quality of life is directly impacted by the way the project is implemented and operated, whether built quickly or slowly. For years residents have documented violations of environmental commitments related to negative impacts like air quality and noise that the State of New York has failed to enforce. For years we have looked at chain link fences and watched our street trees cut down without a credible replacement timetable. The first demolitions related to Atlantic Yards took place nine years ago, and construction of the sixteen high rises, affordable housing and open space in the project has just barely begun. Construction may take a generation or more.
Together with other local civic organizations, Dean Street Block Association has identified a few specific goals we think moving forward will most help those of us impacted by the project. First, we seek new oversight for the project by a dedicated public development corporation or subsidiary with a board that includes directors appointed in conjunction with local elected officials. We also seek improved oversight of environmental impacts, most especially those related to construction. Forest City Ratner is attempting to sell 70% of the project to the Chinese developer Greenland. Decisions will be made by a 5 member board, with 3 votes for Greenland and 2 for FCRC. We believe poor responsiveness to community concerns, and lack of accountability to the public, may only get worse.
You do not have to be an expert on Atlantic Yards to come and speak. We want you to come and show you care about our community. Talking about where you live, who you are, and that you care about our quality of life will make a difference.
If you can attend the hearing on the 30th and/or you are able to prepare a written statement, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org If you need help getting to the hearing, let us know. And please encourage your friends and neighbors to come as well.
PUBLIC HEARING TO RESPOND TO THE DRAFT SEIS
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30, 2014 FROM 5:30 TO 9 PM
LONG ISLAND UNIVERSITY, 75 DEKALB AVENUE, ROOM HS 107