The Appellate Division reversed a decrease Court docket dedication and overturned the issuance of a detrimental declaration issued pursuant the State Environmental High quality Evaluate Act (SEQRA) for a proposed condominium advanced. In Matter of Peterson v. Planning Board of the City of Poughkeepsie, the Court docket discovered that the Planning Board, as lead company, had did not take the exhausting look required for a SEQRA assessment previous to issuing a detrimental declaration discovering there can be no vital environmental impacts from the proposed challenge.
The applicant sought web site plan approval for growth of a 3.4 acre web site, with the intention to allow building of a condominium advanced. The 2 points the courtroom targeted on have been the proximity of the location to an historic neighborhood and the quantity of deforestation of the location, which might end in a discount of the portion of the location coated by vegetation from 2.75 acres to .3 acres.
The Court docket reiterated the rule that judicial assessment of SEQRA determinations doesn’t embrace figuring out the desirability of a proposed motion. Nonetheless, it famous that courts should nonetheless guarantee a lead company complied with the necessities of the SEQRA rules in issuing a detrimental declaration.
“Courts might assessment the report to find out whether or not the company recognized the related areas of environmental concern, took a tough take a look at them, and made a reasoned elaboration of the premise for its dedication (see Matter of Chinese Staff & Workers’ Assn. v Burden, 19 NY3d 922, 924; Akpan v Koch, 75 NY2d 561, 570; Matter of Jackson v New York State City Dev. Corp., 67 NY2d at 417). ”
Upon reviewing the report the Court docket held:
“The Planning Board famous that the challenge wouldn’t considerably impression the adjoining Dwight Avenue-Hooker Avenue Historic District (hereinafter the historic district). Nonetheless, in making that dedication, the Planning Board merely relied upon a letter from the New York State Workplace of Parks, Recreations and Historic Preservation, which said solely that the proposed motion wouldn’t have an opposed impression on the historic district. Such a conclusory assertion fails to meet the reasoned elaboration requirement of SEQRA (see Matter of Troy Sand & Gravel Co., Inc. v Town of Nassau, 82 AD3d 1377...
With regard to the impression on vegetation or fauna, the EAF contemplates the discount of the three.4-acre parcel’s forestation from 2.75 acres to .30 acres. Nonetheless, the detrimental declaration inexplicably said that ‘[t]he proposed motion won’t consequence within the elimination or destruction of enormous portions of vegetation or fauna.’ Within the context of this challenge, the extent of deforestation is important.”
Because of this the Court docket remanded the matter, directing that an Environmental Impression Assertion be ready with the intention to deal with the problems recognized by the Court docket.
“In gentle of the foregoing, it’s clear that the proposed motion might have vital opposed environmental impacts upon a number of areas of environmental concern (see 6 NYCRR 617.7[a]). Thus, the Planning Board’s issuance of a detrimental declaration was arbitrary and capricious. Accordingly, the matter have to be remitted to the Planning Board in order that an Environmental Impression Assertion could also be ready (see Matter of West Department Conservation Assn. v Planning Bd. of City of Clarkstown, 207 AD2d 837, 841; Matter of Holmes v Brookhaven City Planning Bd., 137 AD2d 601, 604).”