Testimony Presented to:
Empire State Development Corporation
Joan L. Millman
Member of Assembly, 52nd Assembly District
Re: Atlantic Yards Arena and Redevelopment Project Draft Scope
Thank you for the opportunity today to comment on the Atlantic
Yards Arena and Redevelopment Project Draft Scope of Analysis
for an Environmental Impact Statement. As the Assemblymember
for the 52nd Assembly District, representing Brooklyn Heights,
Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill,
and Park Slope, I would like to voice my objections to the overwhelming
scale of the proposed development and then comment on the need
of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to fully study the
potentially harmful effects this project will have on the surrounding
neighborhoods in my district.
First and foremost the preliminary plan for the proposed redevelopment
at the Atlantic Yards is too large. From the time of this projectÕs
inception we have seen a plan that brought an arena to Brooklyn
with some housing attached, turned into a mega development with
an arena attached. Seventeen high rises and an estimated 18,000
residents dropped into the middle of a neighborhood with low
scale development will not merely change the character of that
neighborhood, but will overload the existing infrastructure
and impact the general quality of life for my constituents.
Thus far I have yet to see a detailed and adequate plan that
will address such concerns, and I am not convinced the Environmental
Impact Statement will do so. We need to take a hard look at
what the potential effects of this project will be, and not
just in the 1/2 mile radius as indicated in the Draft Scope,
but within at least a 3/4 mile radius. Let us accurately look
at the effect 18,000 people plus an arena will have on our sewer
capacity, the effect 18,000 people plus an arena will have on
our already crowded subways, the effect 18,000 people plus an
arena will have on police and fire personnel demands, the effect
18,000 people plus an arena will have on the schools, and the
effect 18,000 people plus an arena will have on already overburdened
postal service. These are just some of the issues that will
impact the quality of life for downtown residents.
I also want to specifically ensure that the potential effect
of storm water runoff flowing into certain parts of my district
is addressed. The community is fighting a long battle to improve
the environmental condition of the Gowanus Canal. We need to
ensure that any excess storm water runoff from the proposed
project is mitigated and prevented from erasing the years of
hard work that went into improving the Canal.
Also, an important concern is the sharp increase in traffic
that will result from the arena, commercial development, and
the thousands of units of housing. The analysis needs to evaluate
how to mitigate traffic in Boerum Hill and Park Slope past the
1/2 mile boundary of study.
I would also like to address the recent addition of the proposed
project that is located within my Assembly district. Site 5
is slated for construction located on top of or in lieu of the
existing commercial structures. While I am not specifically
opposed to development along Flatbush Avenue, I believe it is
in excess in light of the already massive construction planned
at the yards. Furthermore, I am concerned about the preservation
of open space, specifically the community garden located within
Site 5. The garden is a product of community cooperation and
should be preserved.
Additionally I want to emphasize the need for the community
to have significant input for this project as we move forward.
I have signed a letter along with other elected officials requesting
that the ESDC use fees from Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC)
to fund a community based study. The proper resources are needed
in order to maximize the communityÕs concerns for a project
of this magnitude.
Finally, I want to state my opposition to the use of eminent
domain for the Atlantic Yards Redevelopment Project. The government
takeover of private property should be a last resort and never
implemented for private gain. This plan sets a dangerous precedent
and I will not support it. Additionally, if State approval is
needed to use eminent domain I will not support it, and I will
ask my Assembly colleagues, including Speaker Sheldon Silver,
not to support it.
While the arena and affordable housing components of this project
are beneficial additions to Brooklyn, the size and magnitude
of the proposed project is becoming too high a price to pay.
FCRC has prided itself on being a development corporation that
listens to community concerns, but I have yet to see an adequate
plan for solving the potentially harmful problems that this
project will create. Thank you.
Joan L. Millman
Member of Assembly