2007-02-11, 09:02

Atlantic Yards: An opponent's view

By: Jonathan Groner
The Feb. 5, 2007, issue of Multi-Housing News has an op-ed by Daniel Goldstein, the lead plaintiff in a major federal court case against Atlantic Yards, the huge mixed-use project planned for Brooklyn, N.Y. Goldstein is also the spokesperson for Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, which leads the opposition to Atlantic Yards.

The 8-million-square-foot project would include a 20,000-seat basketball arena and 16 high-rise towers. Real estate attorneys, advocates of mixed use, followers of the Supreme Court's 2005 Kelo decision on eminent domain, and community activists nationwide will want to follow the case, which was filed in the Eastern District of New York in October 2006.

Goldstein argues that the approval process for Atlantic Yards circumvented the normal legal steps that constitute "democratic oversight" and that developer Bruce Ratner essentially received a rubber stamp from city and state government.

Goldstein says that the Achilles' heel of the project is the fact that eminent domain will be required to make it happen. He says that although the Kelo case allowed eminent domain to be used for economic development -- in the Supreme Court's view a "public use" -- there are exceptions set forth in Justice Kennedy's 5-4 majority opinion.

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