After more than eleven years of legal wrangling, the New York Court of Appeals denied certiorari, finally closing the chapter and letting stand a holding that the Town’s request for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (“SEIS”) in response to a developer’s submission of a mitigated development plan was not arbitrary and capricious. The Second Department held that “[t]he Town Board, as the lead agency, ‘may require a supplemental EIS, limited to the specific significant adverse environmental impacts not addressed or inadequately addressed in the [original] EIS that arise from: (a) changes proposed for the project; (b) newly discovered information; or (c) a change in circumstances related to the project.’”
The original Application was submitted on January 21, 1998 by developer Oyster Bay Associates Limited Partnership (“Developer”) to the Town Board, by which the Developer sought to construct a 960,000 square foot shopping mall on the 39 acre Property located in a Light Industry Zoning District. The Property was formerly owned by the Cerro Wire and Cable Company, which conducted certain industrial manufacturing at the Property. While no zoning variances were required for the project, a special use permit was required by the Town Code to develop the proposed shopping mall. The size of the mall was subsequently reduced to 860,000 square feet, prior to the issuance of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (“FEIS”).
The Town Board designated itself as the lead agency as authorized by the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) in light of the fact that the proposed project may have a significant environmental impact. The Town’s Environmental Quality Review Commission (“TEQR Commission”) held a public hearing on the Application and issued its initial SEQRA findings in June, 2000. The initial SEQRA findings were favorable to the Developer in that they supported the project on virtually every consideration raised during the SEQRA process and identified in its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (“DEIS”) and FEIS. Subsequent to the issuance of the TEQR Commission’s SEQRA findings the Town Board held a public hearing and kept the record open for thirty days for additional comment and rebuttal. Local civic organizations and other groups voiced strong opposition to the proposed development. Thereafter, Town Board asked the TEQR Commission to consider the information received during and subsequent to the Town Board hearing. On January 1, 2001, The TEQR Commission rescinded its initial findings and issued revised SEQRA findings that found the project would cause adverse effects on traffic, crime, quality of life and density. As a result of the revised SEQRA findings, the Developer offered to reduce the size of the proposed mall to 750,000 square feet. On May 8, 2001 the Town Board issued its own findings, adopting substantially all of the TEQR Commission’s revised SEQRA findings, and rejected the Developer’s offer to reduce the size of the mall as untimely and insufficient and denied the Application.
Click to read more: Final Oyster Bay Cerro wire mall article 7-14-09