Please note our new postal address when sending
contributions to the legal fund:
121 5th Avenue, PMB #150
Brooklyn, New York 11217
Our coalition consists of 21 community organizations and
there are 51 community organizations formally
aligned in opposition to the Ratner plan.
DDDB is a volunteer-run organization. We have over 5,000
subscribers to our email newsletter, and 7,000 petition
signers. Over 800 volunteers have registered with DDDB
to form our various teams, task-forces and committees
and we have over 150 block captains. We have a 20 person
volunteer legal team of local lawyers supplementing our
We are funded entirely by individual donations from the community at large
and through various fundraising events we and supporters have organized.
We have the financial support of well over 3,500 individual
In the wake of the Ward Bakery parapet collapse the Empire State Development
Corporation (ESDC) has announced plans to implement some "oversight reforms."
The overarching questions are:
Below is an ESDC letter sent to local elected officials, with our deconstruction:
- Why has this initiative taken so long?
- Why is there no role at all for community stakeholders?
- Where is the environmental monitor in all of this?
- Where is the "Community
Benefits Agreement" group?
ESDC Oversight and Monitoring Measures for Brooklyn Atlantic
The first sentence is boilerplate basically taken directly from the developer's
press releases, with no acknowledgement of any downside to the project.
We thought the ESDC was representing not just Forest City Ratner, but also the
the people of New York.
Atlantic Yards is a critically important project that will bring jobs, affordable
housing and increased economic activity to the city. We are committed to seeing
the project completed, and we are equally committed to minimizing disruptions.
We believe these measures will accomplish these goals as we work to see this
project completed on schedule.
"We are committed to seeing the project completed"?...On
day one, when it comes to "Atlantic Yards", nothing changes. When it
comes to "Atlantic Yards" the Spitzer Administration thinks that Pataki/Gargano
"Minimizing disruptions"?...Even the ESDC's
own EIS highlighted numerous "disruptions" that simply will not be minimized.
So...minimize disruptions for who, Forest City Ratner's demolition crew?
"Completed on schedule"?...Whose schedule? Charles
Ratner's or Laurie
Olin's. (Need we remind the ESDC that right now "Atlantic Yards"
very viability is under review in state
ESDC will implement the following steps:
I. The designation of an ESDC Atlantic Yards ombudsperson
This person will provide elected officials, community representatives and
the public with access to current information about the project. The ombudsperson
will report to senior officials at ESDC and help facilitate the cooperation
of the various government agencies involved in this project.
There is supposed to be an environmental monitor in place and where is the
community stakeholder group and LDC type arrangement in place in Lower Manhattan,
Battery Park City etc, and what is the role of the "CBA" group here?
Will "current information about the project" include a realistic timeline
and information for residents still living in the footprint regarding their health
in the midst of demolition and abatement?
II. The designation of an Owner's Representative for Construction
An "Owner's Representative," what is that? Who is "the Owner"
in this case? Sounds like the "Owner" is the ESDC, if that is the case
why does it seem like Forest City Ratner is running the show?
This person (or consultant team) will serve as ESDC's representative to monitor
the construction activities performed by the developer at the project site.
The Owner's Rep will have direct access to ESDC senior officials and staff
and will have unlimited access to the site during all phases of construction.
The Owner's Rep will coordinate with the developer's construction team and
city and state agencies responsible for overseeing construction related activities
to keep ESDC apprised of substantive issues during construction.
III. The creation of an interagency working group
More closed-door talks between agencies. Great!
ESDC will be pull together representatives from MTA, NYCEDC, NYCDOT, NYCDOB,
and others to review approved and planned work on a monthly basis.
It's the interagency inner-workings that have gotten us into this mess: an overwhelmingly
dense and gigantic development plan with no meaningful mitigations or infrastructure
IV. The creation of a transportation working group
Forgive us, but shouldn't a "transportation working group" have
worked on a transportation mitigation plan for inclusion in the Final Environmental
Impact Statement? Should the FEIS have been approved without such a plan? This
is a day late and a MetroCard short.
Concerns regarding transportation impacts, during and after construction,
have been consistently mentioned by community and elected leaders. ESDC will
organize a small working group of city and state agencies, community representatives
and local elected officials to discuss anticipated issues and available mitigation
V. Hold regular meetings with local elected officials
Which elected officials? What about the public, the community? First time
we've seen the word "progress" associated with "Atlantic Yards."
ESDC will host regular meetings to update and inform elected officials about
overall progress and key project milestones.
As the project moves into the construction phase, we will continue to work
with developer Forest City Ratner, elected officials, and our partners in
City government to make sure quality of life is maintained.
That'll be some trick. The best way to ensure that "quality of life is maintained"
is to make major, substantial modifications to the project, unless of course there
will be an ombudsperson with a magic wand in perpetuity.
More coverage of the ESDC's announcement:
arena project gets safety net
slated for Brooklyn project
In wake of Atlantic Yards incident, a new community liaison
Tries To Minimize Problems From Atlantic Yards Construction
Atlantic Yards Report:
plans ombudsperson, new working groups for AY oversight
Idea: Safety Measures For Atlantic Yards