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Local Law Annulled Due to Improper Segmentation of SEQRA Review

The failure to analyze the environmental impacts of a sewerage diversion plan formed the basis for the Appellate Division Second Department voiding a zoning amendment in Matter of ACI Shore Rd., LLC v. Incorporated Village of Great Neck. The Village of Great Neck had proposed a zoning amendment to implement a residential Waterfront Development District in an area which had previously been an industrial zone. At the same time the Village was considering decommissioning two sewerage treatment plants in the area and diverting the sewerage to a plant 16 miles away.

The Court found that the DGEIS for the new zone included a conceptual site plan replacing the sewerage treatment plants with a mixed use development and waterfront park. Yet, except for noting generally that it was anticipated the diversion of sewerage would have beneficial impacts, the Court noted “despite the apparent interrelatedness of the redevelopment plan and sewerage diversion plan, neither the DGEIS nor the FGEIS contained any analysis of potential environmental impacts of the sewerage diversion plan.”

Therefore the Court found that the environmental review had been improperly segmented as the potential impacts of the sewerage diversion plan should have been considered and noted the “record belies” the claim by the Village that “the sewerage diversion plan was speculative, hypothetical, or not part of a larger unified plan.” Finally, the Court held that the Village failed to take a “hard look” at other potential impacts. Rather than analyzing impacts of proposed dredging and soil remediation, which were part of the overall project, the DGEIS, FGEIS and SEQRA findings statement contained no analysis of these issues.