Dog pile on Ratner — another Yards suit is filed

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A welter of community groups and politicians joined the legal pile-on on Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project on Thursday, claiming in a lawsuit that the state shirked its duties by approving major modifications to the project over the summer without a review of the environmental consequences.

Brooklyn Speaks, a coalition of eight community groups that has taken a backseat to other opposition efforts, filed the suit in Manhattan Supreme Court on the grounds that the June modifications allow Ratner to take far longer to build the $4-billion, 16 tower arena, residential and office complex — and a longer build-out time only worsens the “blight” in and around the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues that the project is supposed to remedy.

“The Empire State Development Corporation has ignored its statutory duty to act in the public interest,” said Assemblyman Jim Brennan (D-Park Slope), a member of the coalition. “By approving a modified Atlantic Yards project without so much as a new site plan, let alone a committed completion date, the agency has handed over to Forest City Ratner control of 22 acres of Brooklyn, no strings attached.

“The ESDC must address the likelihood that Atlantic Yards will continue to expand the kind of urban blight the agency now pretends the project will remove,” Brennan added.

The suit has some common ground with a suit filed in October by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn and, as such, may be consolidated into one mega legal case.

“We are pleased that the opposition is getting bigger,” said DDDB spokesman Daniel Goldstein said. “It was big before and it’s only getting bigger.”

An ESDC spokeswoman did not seem too intimidated by the growing chorus of opposition to the project. “This new lawsuit is similar to the lawsuit filed one month ago,” she said. “Repeating this claim, however, does not make it any more valid.

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Reader Feedback

Erica from Brooklyn says:
Pile on him you dogs!
Nov. 20, 2009, 3:28 am
Peter from Clinton Hill says:
Bad Reporting. Why don't you list the names of the eight other groups involved in the law suit? Why don't you tell us what those groups represent? Daniel Goldstein gets thrust out as the lone face of the opposition to this abusive project. Thus he often gets painted as a villain. Opposition to this project is larger than Mr. Goldstein and it's growing larger by the day. Rather than just saying a "dog pile" (which isn't a very positive image) why don't you do some reporting on who and why these groups are involved.
Nov. 20, 2009, 6:43 am
Bill from Downtown Brooklyn says:
Very good point Peter, the BrooklynSpeaks press release lists the plaintiffs, here the are since the Brooklyn Papers didn't think the names of those suing was important.

Groups and elected officials filing suit include the:
Atlantic Avenue LDC
the Brooklyn Heights Association
the Boerum Hill Association
the Fifth Avenue Committee
the Park Slope Civic Council
the Pratt Area Community Council
the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council
State Senator Velmanette Montgomery
Assemblyman Jim Brennan
City Councilmember Letitia James
as well as 14 individuals listed on the papers at
Nov. 20, 2009, 8:25 am
chuck from boerum hill says:
I like the old Brooklyn Paper bias better. If I want to read a skimpy article on how great Ratner is, I can go to the NY Times.
Nov. 20, 2009, 9:44 am
Boris from Bay Ridge says:
Everyone is to blame here. The activists are to blame for killing the previous project, suggested in the 80's, that is far better than this one. Bloomberg for ignoring his own PlaNYC 2030 plan and agreeing to a monstrosity that ignores the human scale and rips apart streets. The MTA, for agreeing to a sweetheart deal. The city and state for giving too many tax breaks. And all of us, for yelling and bringing lawsuits instead of demanding the kind of government that would not allow this kind of project in the first place.
Nov. 20, 2009, 10:32 am
bayof from biscay says:
Have any of the opponents of this project, with the exception of Pratt, ever advocated for or envisioned something at this site? The BHA? Letitia James? Velmanette Montgomery?
I say turn the railyards into a true transportation hub with a Greyhound bus depot, and extension of PATH and an above ground Air Link stop.
Nov. 20, 2009, 12:06 pm
Bayridgite from Bay Ridge says:
To bayof: Um, yes, actually, there have been a couple of community-based plans, which you can look at here:
Nov. 20, 2009, 12:21 pm
Bob from Downtown says:
You people are nuts. It's still the same group of loonies fighting against new jobs. The only difference is that daniel the mennis goldstein convinced a couple of the other losers to sign on to a lawsuit. theyre gonna lose and we'll get jobs. i cant wait.
Nov. 20, 2009, 3:50 pm
SteveFtGreene from Fort Greene says:
Sorry, there is no upside for this arena for Brooklyn. Please read this testimony from the New York City Independent Budget Office (2 page PDF document):

In 2005, the IBO estimated the benefit of the arena to NYC to be $25 million over 30 years. Now, it’s a loss.
Nov. 21, 2009, 5 am
Native Brooklyite from From Brooklyn says:
I love "Bob from Downtown"'s comment about "we'll get jobs." Yeah, right. Get in line behind all the New Jersey and Long Island union lifers who will get seniority preference, while you try to park your car with all of them double parked. And if you think that the neighborhood businesses will benefit from the construction, wait until you see the food vans and other "amenities" which are driven up so that the minority-phobic Jerseyites and Long Islanders won't have to, God forbid, have to set foot outside the construction site.

Jobs? Dream on!
Nov. 21, 2009, 1:10 pm
Brittany M. from Windsor Terrace says:
Rep. Jim Brennan doesn't represent his constituents well. In a time of economic collapse, he stands between the voters and jobs generated by Atlantic Yards.

These "civic" groups - Brooklyn Speaks, Develop Don't Destroy - do not represent Brooklyn. They are a small group of fighting to protect their personal interests at the expense of the rest of Brooklyn. Shameful!

Even though Park Slope is close to me, I have boycotted its stores and restaurants. I am thoroughly disgusted with the Park Slope and Boreum Hill crowd who so quickly and thoughtlessly sacrifice the rest of us.

I am not alone. I vote. I boycott.
Nov. 21, 2009, 1:32 pm
Bob from downtown says:
ok steve whatever you say. sitting on your thumbs and doing nothing isnt going to get us jobs. there will be plenty of locals getting jobs from this project.

Brittany these nimbys dont get it
Nov. 21, 2009, 5:58 pm
Steve Nitwitt from Sheepshead Bay says:
who let the dogs out? Norm at
Nov. 22, 2009, 2:50 am
Jim from Park Slope says:
Creating jobs for the sake of jobs isn't really a compelling argument. If those jobs are going to destroy neighborhood by building a subsidized, out of scale playground for the rich, then they're not worth it. We all want to see the area above the rail yards developed, but nobody asked the community what it wanted before Ratner showed up. Nobody can stop this project once there's a stake in the ground.
Nov. 22, 2009, 9:26 am
Bayridgite from Bay Ridge says:
For those in favor of this boondoggle: How about we knock down YOUR homes and build it there? Hey, it'll create jobs, right? So it's all good.
Nov. 23, 2009, 11:10 am
Not Goish from Prospect Heights says:
The last major obstacle to a groundbreaking for the massive $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn fell Tuesday when New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, dismissed a challenge to the state’s use of eminent domain on behalf of the developer, Bruce C. Ratner. Deal!
[ny times 11/23]
Nov. 24, 2009, 9:28 am

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