Posted by: Patricia Salkin | February 11, 2017

NY Appellate Court Finds Board of Trustee’s Action under SEQRA and Adoption of Zoning Amendment was Ripe for Judicial Review

Petitioner commenced a proceeding seeking to annul the decision of respondent Village of Fayetteville Board of Trustees to enact Local Law No. 1 of 2015, which amended the zoning district classification of two parcels following the issuance of a negative declaration of environmental significance under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, but provided that the amendment would “take effect only after approval by Onondaga County Department of Transportation and final site plan approval by the Village of Fayetteville Planning Board has been granted.” Respondent Village of Fayetteville and the Board of Trustees filed a joint motion seeking the dismissal of the petition. The Supreme Court granted the motion, concluding that the petitioner’s proceeding was “premature” and that the Board of Trustee’s action under SEQRA was “not ripe for judicial review.”
On appeal, the court found that the Board of Trustees’ simultaneous issuance of a negative declaration and adoption of the zoning amendment rendered petitioner’s challenges to the Board of Trustees’ action ripe for review. Furthermore, the fact that the zoning amendment “was conditioned upon successful reviews and approvals by other agencies did not alter the fact that it became final and binding as to petitioner on the date it was filed.” Moreover, although “rezoning is an ‘action’ subject to SEQRA”, and the future site plan approval process could also constitute an action under SEQRA, the court determined that the fact that petitioner might be aggrieved by a future SEQRA action did not affect the judicial ripeness of the SEQRA challenge relating to a prior action. Accordingly, the court found that when the Board of Trustees issued the negative declaration and amended the zoning laws, the Board of Trustees’ “decision-making process with respect to those issues was complete and petitioner became aggrieved by the SEQRA violation. As such, the court reversed the judgment, and remitted the matter to Supreme Court.
Cor Route 5 Company LLC v Village of Fayetteville, 2017 WL 460613 (NYAD 4 Dept. 2/3/2017)

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