Federal appeals court OKs Atlantic Yards project

February 01, 2008 12:20PM

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has allowed the $4 billion Atlantic Yards project to go forward, rejecting a lawsuit by property owners and tenants facing eviction.

“For affected property owners, monetary compensation may understandably seem an imperfect substitute for the hardships of dislocation and the loss of a home or business,” the court wrote. “But federal judges may not intervene in such matters simply on the basis of our sympathies. Just as eminent domain has its costs, it has its benefits.”

Opponents have endured a series of legal setbacks recently. A state judge a rejected lawsuit last month that challenged the state’s environmental review of the project, which the plaintiffs vowed to appeal.

The plaintiffs said they would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the federal eminent domain case. Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn legal director Candace Carponter said, “Our support of the fight of citizens to live safely in their homes, and operate safely in their business, will continue. We maintain that the government’s motivation in using eminent domain for Atlantic Yards is not to benefit the public, but rather, to benefit a single, very rich and powerful developer.  The seizure of our neighbors’ homes and businesses is at the very foundation of the Atlantic Yards project.”

Developer Bruce Ratner cheered the ruling. “Today’s decision is more than another victory for Atlantic Yards,” Ratner said. “It is a victory for public good and the importance of investing in diverse communities throughout the City. Atlantic Yards will bring thousands of affordable homes and needed jobs to Brooklyn. We believe, and the courts have repeatedly agreed, that these are real benefits that will have a significantly positive impact on the borough and the City.”

In a statement, Empire State Development said, “We are extremely pleased with the United States Court of Appeals decision, which reaffirms the state’s actions in the case of the Atlantic Yards development project.” TRD