Water filtration plant goes forward

Water filtration plant survives two lawsuits. In a 1997 settlement agreement with the federal government, the Department of Environmental Protection agreed to build a filtration plant for the Croton Reservoir. DEP selected 23 acres in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx to build the plant. In 200 1 , the Court of Appeals ruled that extended construction on park land required State approval. 7 CityLaw 41 (200 1 ). I n 2003, the state legislature gave the required authorization to construct the plant in the park. In July 2004, DEP completed a supplemental environmental impact statement, and on September 28, 2004, the City Council approved the plant location and construction.

The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park claimed that the approval violated a zoning resolution requirement that no building permit be issued on former public park land without the Planning Commission’s creation of a new zoning district. The City argued that it had made a determination to override the zoning resolution requirements because the benefits of siting the plant at that location were important, the project was approved for water filtration use only and, designating a zoning district would serve no purpose.

On October 7, 2004, Justice William A. Wetzel denied a temporary restraining order, ruling that the formal zoning process was not required and that the override was valid because the City sufficiently evaluated the need for the plant.

In a separate but related case, on September 30, 2004, Justice James p. Dollard denied a request by the Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition to halt the City from beginning work on the water filtration plant, ruling that the City’s method of filtration was valid.

Friends of Van Cortlandt Park v. DEP, Index No. 1 1 4036/2004, Oct.7, 2004 (N.y’Cty.Sup.Ct.) (Wetzel, J.) (Howard Epstein, for Friends; Michael A. Cardozo, Susan Arnron, Janet Siegel, for DEP); Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition v. DEP, Index No. 21923/04, Sept. 30, 2004, (Qns.Cty.Sup.Ct.) (Dollard, J.) (Michael A. Cardozo, Susan Arnron, Janet Siegel, for DEP) .

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.