Akerman LLP, a top 100 U.S. law firm serving clients across the Americas, filed an Amici Curiae brief in support of the City of New York (City) in its appeal in the Supreme Court of the State of New York. The Appellate Division, First Department, Supreme Court of the State of New York (Appellate Division), ultimately issued a unanimous decision reversing a lower court order that annulled an amendment to the New York City Zoning Resolution.
The lower court originally ruled in favor of a group of opponents who argued the City did not properly study the environmental impacts of a proposed rezoning in the Inwood neighborhood of Upper Manhattan in an Environmental Impacts Statement (EIS) prepared in accordance with New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The underlying issue involved whether the City acted rationally by relying on an extensive and detailed Technical Manual containing guidelines and methodologies for compliance with the SEQRA. The opponents sought to expand the EIS to cover issues unrelated to the environment and beyond the normal scope of review. The Appellate Division's decision supported the proposition that reliance on the Technical Manual constitutes a “hard look” at the environment.
Akerman represented Maddd Equities, Taconic Partners, ConEdison, and Shermans Creek Development Corp, who had received approvals for similar, significant development projects which the challenged rezoning would allow on an as-of-right basis. These approved projects include a significant number of affordable housing units in the area covered by the rezoning. Akerman’s clients were not parties to the litigation.
Richard G. Leland, partner in Akerman's Real Estate Practice Group, and Steven Del Mauro, associate in the Litigation Practice Group in New York, filed the Amici Curiae in support of the City. New York Real Estate Partner Steven Sinacori was also involved in the case.
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