Posted by: Patricia Salkin | September 10, 2019

NY Appellate Court Finds Village Board of Trustees Satisfied the Requirements of SEQRA in Determining that a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement was Not Necessary for Subdivision and Site Plan

This post was authored by Matthew Loeser, Esq.

Respondent Sullivan Farms II, Inc. sought approval to construct a townhouse complex in the Village of Bloomingburg, Sullivan County. As such, as environmental impact statement under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”) was prepared, and respondent Village of Bloomingburg Board of Trustees adopted the findings of the SEQRA findings statement for the project. Respondent Village of Bloomingburg Planning Board then adopted the findings of the Village Board of Trustees as its own one month later. In 2010, the Village Planning Board granted subdivision and site plan approval to Sullivan Farms, and construction began in 2012. After petitioner Town of Mamakating Planning Board, acting pursuant to an intermunicipal agreement that gave it the powers, authority and responsibilities of the Village Planning Board, rescinded the 2010 subdivision and site plan approval, Petitioners commenced this combined CPLR article 78 proceeding and declaratory judgment action seeking: to annul the determination by the Village Board of Trustees; to reaffirm the 2009 SEQRA findings and the determination by the Village Planning Board; and to reaffirm the 2010 subdivision and site plan approval. The Supreme Court dismissed the petition on the basis of a lack of standing.

On appeal, Petitioners first contended that the Village Planning Board lacked the authority to reaffirm the 2010 subdivision and site plan approval. The court rejected this argument, finding that the record reflected that the Village Planning Board was presented with new information in the amended subdivision and site plan, and was authorized to reaffirm the approval notwithstanding the fact that it had been previously rescinded.

The court next analyzed petitioners’ contention that the reaffirmation of the 2010 subdivision and site plan approval by the Village Planning Board was arbitrary and capricious. Here, as part of its request that the Village Planning Board consider an amendment to its subdivision and site plan approval, Sullivan Farms submitted analyses from engineering experts examining the potential stormwater impacts and increased water usage due to the proposed expansions of the road. Additionally, Sullivan Farms submitted an analysis contesting the Town Planning Board’s conclusions as to water usage and negative effects of increased traffic. The record further indicated that this information was examined by the Village Planning Board prior to reaffirming the approval.

Lastly, Petitioners argued that the Village Board of Trustees lacked jurisdiction to act as the SEQRA lead agency. The court found this contention was without merit as the Village Board of Trustees served as the original lead agency and, thus, had a continuing duty to evaluate the new evidence presented by Sullivan Farms. The court found the Village Board of Trustees took the requisite hard look at the relevant areas of concern and satisfied the requirements of SEQRA in determining that a supplemental environmental impact statement was not necessary. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed.

Town of Mamakating v. Village of Bloomingburg, 2019 WL 3226710 (NYAD 2 Dept. 7/18/2019)


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