The state agency overseeing the Atlantic Yards mega-development purposefully withheld information on the project’s timetable to avoid having to reexamine the project’s negative impacts, a judge ruled on Tuesday in what appears to be a meaningless victory for foes of Bruce Ratner’s project.
The ruling by Judge Marcy Friedman is unlikely to delay the project, as Tuesday’s finding merely ordered the Empire State Development Corporation to see whether a new “environmental impact statement” is warranted — a document that opponents have consistently decried as a “sham” anyway.
Still, opponents were glowing over their first major court victory in the seven-year saga to block Bruce Ratner’s 22-acre, 16-tower mini-city sprawling east from the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues.
“[The Court’s decision] has laid bare the pattern of lies and deception by ESDC and [Ratner] that underlie this project,” said Candace Carponter, the legal director for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, which has opposed the development.
Specifically, Friedman sternly reprimanded the ESDC for only analyzing the impact of Ratner’s long-discarded 10-year construction timetable rather than the current 25-year buildout — one that remains in doubt because of the economy. The obfuscation, Friedman said, “appears to be yet another failure of transparency on ESDC’s part.”
Project opponents have said that the ESDC intentionally did not analyze the longer timetable because a true analysis would reveal that the project will create the blighted conditions that the state said Ratner’s project would remedy.
“The record … lacks any expert opinion or analysis of the impact of a potential 25-year delay in completion of the project,” wrote Friedman in her ruling.
A spokeswoman for the ESDC merely said the agency was “reviewing today’s ruling, which does not enjoin construction taking place on the Atlantic Yards project.”
The Barclays Center, which is the first piece of the Atlantic Yards puzzle, is already rising and is expected to be completed in time for the 2012-13 basketball season.
An adjacent residential building is in the planning phase, but the rest of the project is on hold until the economy improves.