Citizen’s challenge to 72nd St. ramp closing rejected

No supplemental EIS required. Lincoln West, a 74-acre project being developed on Manhattan’s west side between West 59th and West 72nd Streets along the Henry Hudson Parkway, began its approval process in the early 1990s. The City’s 1992 FEIS for the project included the closure of the West 72nd Street ramp off the Henry Hudson Parkway and the southward extension of Riverside Drive, both of which were explained as pending later approval by DOT.

In 2003, the developer sought DOT’s approval of the ramp closure, submitting an updated analysis of its traffic, air and noise impacts. DOT approved and issued a statement that the City’s and State’s environmental study requirements were met by the original 1992 FEIS.

The Coalition Against Lincoln West, comprised of residents and elected officials, challenged DOT’s statement, arguing that a new or supplemental EIS was needed to study the ramp closure. The lower court agreed, finding that DOT’s approval was a new City discretionary act, which triggered a new study.

On appeal, the First Department reversed, explaining that the 1992 FEIS included the ramp in the initial project description and fully analyzed the ramp’s long-term impacts. Without new information or a change in circumstances, the ramp’s impacts required no second analysis.

In re Coalition Against Lincoln West, Inc. v.Weinshall, 2005 NY Slip Op 05993, July 14, 2005 (1st Dep’t) (Attorneys: Michael A. Cardozo, Elizabeth S. Natrella, Leonard Koerner, Gail Saunders, Heidi Rubinstein, for DOT; David Paget, Steven C. Russo, Jennifer Coghlan, for developers, Hudson Waterfront Associates; Richard J. Lippes, Stanley J. Levy, for Coalition).

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