Sanitation garage construction wins court approval

Environmental study and site choice for Brooklyn garage upheld. The City filed a condemnation action in October 2003 for three lots comprising a 2.46-acre site bounded by Park, Nostrand and Flushing Avenues and Warsoff Place in Clinton Hill, to be used for the eventual construction of a new Sanitation truck storage garage to serve Brooklyn Community District 3.

The site had been subject to a June 2000 application by Sanitation and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services for site selection and acquisition approval for a 70- space Sanitation truck garage, a permitted use in the site’s M1-2 zoning. After receiving the approval of both Community Board 3 and the Borough President, the Planning Commission approved the site selection and acquisition on December 5, 2001.

In March 2004, Marcy Housing Association, the tenants’ association for a 5,000-tenant New York City Housing Authority project on Nostrand Avenue across from the garage site, together with several other neighboring businesses, residents, and a Yeshiva school, challenged the City’s condemnation action. Marcy argued that the City’s environmental review, which resulted in a negative declaration, was flawed for not considering other sites, for not being revised to consider new emission standards, and for not being expanded when changes to the project were made during the approval process. Marcy also argued that the garage would create a nuisance and be incompatible with the neighborhood, which had significantly changed since 2001. Further, it argued that the garage effectively would be the equivalent of a waste transfer station, which, under Sanitation’s siting rule, would be prohibited within 400-feet of a residence or a school.

On November 10, 2004, Justice Abraham Gerges dismissed the claim as both time-barred and insufficient. A challenge to the site choice and the environmental review required filing within four months of the Planning Commission’s December 2001 approval. Even if timely, Marcy’s claim failed, because the City’s choice of the site was not arbitrary, new emission standards were inapplicable, Sanitation had studied alternative sites in its own analysis, and modifications made during the process sought to lessen, not increase, the garage’s impact. Referring to State and City code definitions of a “waste transfer facility,” the court rejected Marcy’s argument that, since garbage might be stored overnight in the trucks, a Sanitation garage was the equivalent of a waste transfer facility. Further, the nuisance claim was premature, since the garage had not yet been built.

In re Marcy Housing Tenants Ass’n, 2004 N.Y. Slip Op 51375(U), Nov. 10, 2004 (Gerges. J.) (Kings Cty.Sp.Ct.).

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