First Department Holds Planning Commissioner Considered Appropriate Factors In Renewing Special Permit

Respondent Hospital for Special Surgery (“HSS”) applied to the New York City Planning Commission to renew a special permit to construct a new hospital building.  The Planning Commission granted the application, and the petitioner, a nearby apartment company, filed a petition seeking to annul the determination granting the renewal.  The Supreme Court of New York denied the petition, and the petitioner appealed.

On appeal, the First Department held that the Commission’s determination that “the facts upon which the special permit was granted have not substantially changed” was rationally based in the record and not contrary to the law.  The Court emphasized that they owed deference to the Commission’s rational construction of the relevant statute, namely that the “facts” to be assessed refer to the scope and terms of the permitted project, rather than external factors, such as environmental impacts that may have resulted from area development during the years since the original grant of the special permit.  As such, irrespective of the merits of petitioner’s claim that the Planning Commission should have considered external factors, the Court must affirm the Planning Commission’s rational conclusion that a full-scale reassessment of the project's impact was not needed.

The case was Edgewater Apartments, Inc. v. New York City Planning Comm'n, 177 A.D.3d 576 (1st Dep’t 2019).

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