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Opponents of the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project are heading back to court in two separate cases.
Both cases are before the state’s Court of Appeals and the main plaintiffs are listed as Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, or its chief spokesperson, Daniel Goldstein.
The defendant in both cases is the Empire State Development Corporation.
The 22-acre Atlantic Yards project — starting at the Atlantic/Flatbush avenues intersection and moving southeast — calls for an arena to house the NBA’s Nets and 16 high-rises with market-rate and affordable housing.
In the first case, the Court of Appeals agreed to hear Goldstein and nine other business and residential property owners in the project’s footprint argue that the use of eminent domain to seize their property violates the New York State Constitution.
It alleges the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to allow for eminent domain in Kelo v. City of New London continues to expose New Yorkers to the constant threat that their homes and businesses can be seized by the government and given to a more profitable or politically favored private enterprise.
“Kelo was wrongly decided,” said Matthew Brinckerhoff, a lawyer representing the property owners. “This case provides an opportunity for the New York Court of Appeals to reject Kelo and continue its proud tradition of interpreting this state’s Constitution in a manner that affords more protection to individual rights and liberties.”
The case is set to be heard in Albany at 2 p.m., October 14.
In the second case, Goldstein and 25 community group co-petitioners filed a brief to hear their appeal on an adverse ruling on their case challenging the ESDC’s Environmental Impact Statement and Blight Study for developer Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards proposal.
The petitioners charge in their brief that there are substantial questions about bias and corruption in the ESDC’s decision-making regarding the EIS.
ESDC spokesperson Warner Johnston said the agency is reviewing the briefs as filed, but as a matter of policy does not comment on pending litigation.
“However, we are confident that the Court of Appeals will affirm the rulings by the lower courts,” said Johnston.
Officials from Forest City Ratner, the developer of Atlantic Yards, refused comment.
The further legal action comes as Forest City needs to raise about $700 million to finance the project by Dec. 31 to be eligible for tax credits.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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