Occasionally, early in the process of reviewing an application, everyone on the municipal board knows that an application is not likely to be granted. Then the question occurs, do we have to require that the applicant go through a full environmental review under SEQRA before we turn down the application? This is a practical question as an environmental review can be time consuming and incredibly expensive for an applicant. On April 8, 2008, in the case Matter of Joseph Logiudice v. Southold Town Board, the Appellate Division Second Department reminded us that if the application is denied there is no action requiring a review under SEQRA.
SEQRA requires that no action by a government agency be approved without first complying with SEQRA’s obligation to take a hard look at potential significant environmental impacts and eliminating or mitigating those impacts. In upholding the denial of the application for a special permit by Logiudice, the Appellate Division noted: ” because the Board determined to deny the petitioner’s application, “no action having a significant effect on the environment was undertaken,” and, as such, ‘it was unnecessary for the Board, as lead agency, to comply with the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act’ ( Matter of Retail Prop. Trust v. Board of Zoning Appeals of Town of Hempstead, 301 A.D.2d 530, 531-532; see Matter of Cappelli Assoc. v. Meehan, 247 A.D.2d 381, 382; Matter of Wade v. Kujawski, 167 A.D.2d 409, 410).”