Developer Bruce Ratner's controversial Atlantic Yards project will bring a beautiful, pristine, blight-free 1,100 car parking lot to Prospect Heights, but where Ratner sees a paved paradise, other neighbors see a lifeless void. On Thanksgiving eve, twenty community organizations led by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) filed a motion with New York State Supreme Court seeking to halt all construction at the project. The court case hinges on the environmental impact statement conducted by the Empire State Development Corporation [ESDC], which analyzed Atlantic Yards as a 10-year construction project. Now it's expected to take a quarter century, and critics say the environmental impact should be reconsidered.
Streetsblog sums it up succinctly: "If construction is really going to take an extra fifteen years, the argument goes, the true impacts on things like traffic, noise, and air quality weren’t ever disclosed, in violation of environmental law." Atlantic Yards reps insist the massive parking lot is just "temporary," and will on day be home to the mixed-use high rises and low-income houses that were envisioned once upon a time. But the parking for the Barclays Center was originally supposed to be underground, and the lawsuit alleges that the ESDC "has yet to study and disclose the impacts of such a massive parking lot."
The motion for a stay follows a November 9th decision from Justice Marcy Friedman, finding that the ESDC "lacked a rational basis for assuming that Atlantic Yards project would be completed in ten years." The lawsuit calls for a new appraisal of the potential environmental impacts of the project, and accuses Ratner and the ESDC of "colluding in their misrepresentations to the Court."