Dear Mr. Lieber,
With a month to go before the Willets Point redevelopment plan comes before the City Council for consideration, I am greatly concerned that the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has reached agreement with only a small number of the existing businesses with regard to the City's plans for relocation and/or compensation. Even more problematic is my understanding that the agreements reached are non-binding on the EDC.
The EDC and this administration have consistently maintained that "one or two holdouts" should not impede progress. I can agree with that approach and application of eminent domain to condemn private property for greater public good. However, it appears at the moment that almost everyone at Willets Point is a "holdout". At the moment, it appears the plan would invoke eminent domain to seize over 90% of properties at Willets Point.
This is patently indefensible. I implore you and the EDC to kick negotiations into high gear immediately.
After two years of what the City has described as "best efforts", more binding agreements should have already been reached. Nonetheless, it's not too late. There's still a month left for negotiations. Engage the business owners 'round the clock if need be. Just don't ask me and my colleagues to support a plan that would take land wholesale.
Good public policy sometimes necessitates invoking eminent domain to make progress. Coming to agreement for the acquisition of 90% of the land for this redevelopment and condemning the remaining holdouts probably makes sense. Seizing 90% of the land would be wrong an inexcusable, and I cannot in good conscience support a plan that amounts to that.
I am available to assist you and the EDC in any discussions and negotiations to get the job done.
John C. Liu