The Appellate Division determined that the challenge to a proposal for a telecommunications facility (cell tower) on State land was not yet ripe for review. In Village of Pelham Manor v. Crown Communications N.Y., Inc. the Appellate Division found that, where Crown Communications had a contract with the State to construct cell towers on state land, the failure of the State to take final action on the proposal had, under the specific circumstances of this case, neither triggered a default provision in the contract that would have constituted an approval, nor otherwise resulted in a “final” action that was ripe for judicial review.
The agreement between the State and Crown provided in part, under Section 2(E): “prior to any proposed installation of a telecommunications tower, Crown is required to provide to the State a schedule that contains the information set forth in that section, which includes, among other things, an environmental assessment, drafts of any documents required by the State Environmental Quality Review Act (hereinafter SEQRA), draft site plans and design specifications, a description of State action required, and local approvals, if any, required. Section 2(E) further provides that the State shall review the schedule, and within 30 days of receipt, the State shall notify Crown in writing of its approval or disapproval of the project. Failure to do so ‘shall constitute approval of such installation for purposes of [the] Agreement.'”
Effectively, Plaintiff argued in its August, 2020 pleadings that since more than 30 days had passed from the time of the submission of an Environmental Assessment Form by Crown (in July 2020), without action by the State, the project had been approved by default. The court disagreed noting: