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Queens Chronicle

Lawsuit opposing Glendale homeless shelter dismissed

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Posted: Thursday, October 29, 2015 5:38 pm

A lawsuit filed by area residents seeking to prevent the city from turning an old Glendale factory into a homeless shelter has been dismissed.

State Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Schecter on Oct. 22 denied the plaintiffs’ claims that the city had not done an adequate environmental review of the impact the shelter, which would be located at 78-16 Cooper Ave.

The case, Raymond Finn et al. v. City of New York et al., was an Article 78 filing seeking to annul an environmental assessment statement a private firm had done for the Department of Homeless Services. The firm, AECOM, produced a study that allowed the DHS to determine the plan to turn the factory into a 125-unit shelter would not have a significant environmental impact, meaning it would not have to undergo a more thorough investigation resulting in an environmental impact statement. That finding is called a “negative declaration.”

The plaintiffs claimed AECOM’s review was inadequate, “replete with factual mistakes and nonsensical analysis.”

The EAS and EIS processes are dictated by the State Environmental Quality Review Act, under which projects must be assessed for their impact not only on an area’s ecology but also on its “human and community resources.”

Many area residents contend the shelter would have various negative impacts on the community.

But Schecter determined that the actions of AECOM and the DHS complied with SEQRA.

“Certainly the project will have an impact on the community,” the judge said in her decision. Referring to a government document that details the SEQRA process in New York City, she continued, “The Manual, however, guides what is ‘significant’ for purposes of environmental analysis and the evidence here establishes compliance with its criteria and review procedures. In the end, there is no basis for annulling the negative declaration as respondents have established satisfaction with ‘SEQRA, procedurally and substantively.’

“Accordingly, it is ordered and adjudged that the petition is denied and the proceeding is dismissed.”

The plaintiffs may appeal to the state Appellate Division.

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