NY agency must revisit Atlantic Yards impact: judge

NEW YORK Tue Nov 9, 2010 11:19pm GMT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York judge on Tuesday ordered a New York development agency to revisit its environmental review of the $4 billion Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn due to possible changes in the construction timeline.

A master development plan reached in December 2009 between the Empire State Development Corporation and private developer Forest City Ratner calls for the project, which is being partly financed by municipal bonds, to be built within 25 years, but the agency's environmental review looks at a 10-year timeline, the ruling said.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman ruled the agency must either justify its use of a 10-year timeline or provide a new review based on the longer timeline.

"If ESDC concludes... that a 10-year build-out continues to be reasonable, and that it need not examine environmental impacts of construction over a 25-year period on neighborhood character, air quality, noise and traffic, among other issues, then it must expressly make such findings," Friedman said.

The judge did not order a halt in construction of the project, which includes plans to build a basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets alongside office and apartment buildings. The project has been repeatedly delayed by lawsuits and financing problems.

(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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