Posted by: Patricia Salkin | November 1, 2014

NY Appellate Court Upholds Local Health Department’s Approval of Proposed Subdivision

Neighbors challenged the decision of the county health-environmental sanitation division that found no negative environmental impact for a proposed 21-unit residential and one commercial lot subdivision that was subsequently approved by the planning board. Although the petitioners claimed that the Department failed to meet its statutory obligations in “regulating the sanitary aspects of water supplies and sewage disposal and controlling pollution of waters,” the appellate court noted that they will not second guess “thoughtful agency decisionmaking.” The Court noted that the agency took three years to make its review, during which time it conducted a comprehensive and extensive review of the project that included, among other things, site evaluations, results of soil and well testing, and  a report from a geologist.  Although the petitioners offer other expert opinion, the Court explained that the agency is free to rely on the expert opinion of others. Lastly, the Court noted correspondence from the agency to the applicant where the agency’s engineer identified items that needed to be addressed, and presumably were addressed prior to final approval.  Therefore, the court upheld the agency’s determination as neither arbitrary nor capricious, and neither irrational nor in violation of law.

Dugan v Liggan, 2014 WL 5470805 (NYAD 3 Dept. 10/30/2014)

The opinion can be accessed at: http://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/appellate-division-third-department/2014/517934.html


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