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Gordon v. Rush

Citation: 33 ELR 20216
No. No. 70, (N.Y., 06/05/2003)

The court holds that a local coastal erosion board's issuance of a positive declaration under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) requiring oceanfront property owners to conduct a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) in connection with their proposal to install erosion control structures on their property was unauthorized because the board was bound by the state environmental agency's prior negative declaration. The court first holds that the board’s action in issuing a positive declaration is a final administrative action ripe for judicial review. The board's decision clearly imposes an obligation on the property owners to prepare and submit a draft EIS, and its issuance of the positive declaration causes the property owners harm. In addition, the board was bound by the negative declaration issued by the state environmental agency, which was the lead agency for the proposal. The state agency's negative declaration properly identified the involved agencies at the beginning of the process and conducted an appropriate coordinated review. The board, therefore, acted outside the scope of its authority when it subsequently decided to conduct its own SEQRA review.

Counsel for Appellants
Eric Bregman
Sive, Paget & Riesel
460 Park Ave., New York NY 10022
(212) 421-2150

Counsel for Respondents
William W. Esseks
Esseks, Hefter & Angel
108 E. Main St., Riverhead NY 11901
(631) 369-1700