Keep your ’park’ thoughts brief

The Brooklyn Paper
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Want to put in one last word on the Brooklyn Bridge Park? Make sure to speak quickly or write in simple sentences because the development’s planners won’t have much time for close reading.

The state agency overseeing the proposed $150-million commercial, recreational and residential development has given itself just over 12 hours between the close of the “public comment period” on Jan. 17 at 5 pm and a scheduled vote to approve the plan’s environmental impact statement.

The plan for a two-mile waterfront development remains controversial because it includes luxury condos, a hotel, restaurants and shops that would subsidize park area.

Yet despite the controversy, two weeks into the public comment period, the Empire State Development Corporation has received a whopping zero comments. The empty mailbags surprise those who remember the public comment period for the draft EIS this fall. The ESDC received everything from alternative plans to emotional handwritten critiques of a proposed 30-story apartment building to a professional study done by a Manhattan environmental engineering firm.

That comment period led to a revised plan that offers alternative schemes for the 430-unit apartment building at the development’s Atlantic Avenue entrance.

Critics of the plan view the current public comment period and vote the next workday as a final nail in the coffin.

“You could call it a ‘public comment fraud,’” said Roy Sloane of the Cobble Hill Association. “They’ve already read all our criticisms and responded with all the superficial changes they could.”

The ESDC expects that letters will trail in before the close of the period, but declined to comment on how those letters could influence a process that will end the next day.

“We will insure that all comments are taken into consideration before the vote,” said Deborah Wetzel.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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