Extent of Court Review of Town Board’s Assessment of an Environmental Impact Statement Under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) Explained
The Second Department determined the Town Board had properly adopted the Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement (FEGIS) and Findings Statement re: an airport master plan (dealing with noise). The Second Department explained the court’s review powers:
Judicial review of an agency determination under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (ECL art 8; hereinafter SEQRA) is limited to determining whether the challenged determination was affected by an error of law, or was arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, or was the product of a violation of lawful procedure … . Courts may review the record to determine whether the agency identified the relevant areas of environmental concern, took a hard look at them, and made a reasoned elaboration of the basis for its determination … . ” [I]t is not the role of the courts to weigh the desirability of any action or choose among alternatives, but to assure that the agency itself has satisfied SEQRA, procedurally and substantively'” … .
Here, the Town Board of the Town of East Hampton (hereinafter the Town Board) fulfilled its obligations under SEQRA by taking a hard look at potential noise impacts of the proposed actions and made a reasoned elaboration of the basis for its determination in the Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement (hereinafter FGEIS), which thoroughly analyzed noise data and potential noise mitigation based upon noise averaging methodology along with single event noise data. Matter of Committee to Stop Airport Expansion v Wilkinson, 2015 NY Slip Op 01941, 2nd Dept 3-11-15