Court Affirms That Adoption Of SEQRA Findings Did Not Violate Open Meetings Law

The Common Council of the City of White Plains (“Council”) held public meetings on December 9, 2013 and December 19, 2013 to consider a findings statement pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”), and at the conclusion of the second meeting, voted to adopt the proposed findings statement. Petitioners brought an Article 78 proceeding to challenge the resolution, alleging that the revisions made between the December 9 and December 19 meetings violated the Open Meetings Law. The Supreme Court, Westchester County dismissed the petition, and petitioner’s appealed.

On appeal, the Appellate Division, Second Department affirmed the lower court’s decision. Noting that the Open Meetings Law applies to any “meeting of a quorum of a public body for the purpose of transacting public business,” the Court held that discussions between individual members and with the City’s corporation counsel did not violate the Open Meeting Law where no quorum was present. In addition, the draft revisions were posted on the City’s website in advance of the December 19, 2013 meeting at which the resolution was adopted. Accordingly, the Court held no violation occurred.

The case was Gedney Ass’n v. City of White Plains, 147 A.D.3d 938 (2d Dep’t 2017).

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