Meeting Obligations under SEQRA

Earlier this year, the Appellate Division, Second Department issued a ruling on whether the Town of New Hyde Park Planning Board had met its obligations under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) when it granted site plan approval to NND Poughkeepsie Properties, LLC, a decision that had been challenged by the Saint James Antiochian Orthodox Church. The lower court had denied the petition and dismissed the proceeding.

When courts examine an agency determination under SEQRA, it does so with strict limits on the scope of review. Specifically, the court can only review the decision for four types of failings: (1) the influence of an error of law, (2) abuse of discretion, (3) arbitrary and capricious decision-making, or (4) procedural flaws. In the present case, the court failed to find any of these four circumstances, stating the Planning Board had met its obligations under SEQRA by “taking a hard look at the relevant areas of environmental concern” and finding a reasonable basis for its decision. Therefore, in the absence of procedural or substantive errors and having seen evidence of a rational basis for the decision, the court upheld the dismissal of the proceeding. 

The case was Saint James Antiochian Orthodox Church v Town of Hyde Park, 2015 WL 5827160 (NYAD 2 Dept. 2015)

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