Today’s news:

Van Wyck ramp issue an excuse for EDC to use eminent domain

There seems to be no limit to the deviousness in the manner in which the city Economic Development Corp. is proceeding with regard to the proposed Willets Point project. A current case in point is the initiation of eminent domain proceedings which will justifiably result in a lawsuit (“Willets backers want to sue city over plans,” Flushing Times, March 24-30).

In previous court proceedings, the EDC advised the court that it will not pursue eminent domain until it receives approval for plans to construct ramps onto the Van Wyck Expressway. Notwithstanding that representation, the EDC is proceeding with eminent domain on what it now describes as Phase 1 of the development and claims that portion does not require ramps. There is no such thing as separate phases on what has been billed as a total project.

That totality cannot occur without resolution of the ramp issue unless the EDC at a later date seeks to make the ramp issue irrelevant for fear it will derail the project. Attempting to create separate phases is what the EDC has in mind for the future. The scenario is evident: “Hey, we already have a portion taken through eminent domain. We can’t be stopped at this stage because of some traffic issue. So waive it.”

This kind of flimflam does not comport with good government because there is no reason why the EDC could not wait until the ramp issue was resolved — particularly since in the previous court proceedings the EDC made no mention of separate phases.

Hopefully, a court will see through the EDC’s deception, let right be done and block the current eminent domain charade until the ramp issue has been resolved. Furthermore, since the current attempt at eminent domain through a spurious creation of separate phases is contrary to what was previously represented to the court, the EDC should be required to show cause on why it should not be held in contempt of court.

Benjamin M. Haber

Flushing

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