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Judge Madden's Willets Point Preliminary Decision

Judge Madden's Willets Point Preliminary Decision

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Published by unitedtriangle
"... the City acknowledged that the ramps were an integral part of the plan and that the plan as conceived could not proceed without the ramps, and repeatedly and clearly stated that it would not seek to exercise its power of eminent domain prior to obtaining approval of the ramps. In reaching the decision to dismiss the petition, I relied upon the City’s representations. As the City has now changed its position and is seeking to exercise its powers of eminent domain without approval of the ramps, in direct contradiction of its prior representations, and based on the significance of the ramps to the plan, I conclude that the integrity of the decision-making process has been impacted and sufficient reasons exist for me to consider vacating my prior judgment. The question remains as to whether doing so would be in the interests of justice. ... I conclude that I have the inherent power to entertain petitioners’ concerns regarding the City’s new staged approach to the development of Willets Point and to consider the adequacy of Technical Memorandum, and that it is in the interests of justice to do so."
"... the City acknowledged that the ramps were an integral part of the plan and that the plan as conceived could not proceed without the ramps, and repeatedly and clearly stated that it would not seek to exercise its power of eminent domain prior to obtaining approval of the ramps. In reaching the decision to dismiss the petition, I relied upon the City’s representations. As the City has now changed its position and is seeking to exercise its powers of eminent domain without approval of the ramps, in direct contradiction of its prior representations, and based on the significance of the ramps to the plan, I conclude that the integrity of the decision-making process has been impacted and sufficient reasons exist for me to consider vacating my prior judgment. The question remains as to whether doing so would be in the interests of justice. ... I conclude that I have the inherent power to entertain petitioners’ concerns regarding the City’s new staged approach to the development of Willets Point and to consider the adequacy of Technical Memorandum, and that it is in the interests of justice to do so."

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Published by: unitedtriangle on Dec 07, 2011
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12/17/2011

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SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORKCOUNTY OF NEW YORK : IAS PART 11------------------------------------------ XIn the Matter of the Application of
Index No. 103406/09
JOSEPH ARDIZZONE, BEST FUTURE LAND, LLC,
INTERIM DECISION
BONO REALTY CORP. A/K/A BONO REALTY
 AND ORDER 
COMPANY, BONO SAWDUST SUPPLY CO. INC.,PETTRINA CARELLA, CHAMP'S AUTO TECH, INC.,CYPRIAN TRUCK & AUTO REPAIRS INC. D/B/ASHEA TRUCK & AUTO REPAIR INC., CROWNCONTAINER CO., INC., 34
TH
AVENUE REALTYLLC, 126
TH
PLACE REALTY LLC, EMPIRECOMMERCIAL CORP., MIN JIAN REALTY, LLC,N. & T. REPAIRS INC., NEW YORK 128 REALTYCORP., S.A.K. REALTY GROUP LLC, JANICESERRONE, SHEA BUILDING CORP., SIJ, INC.,ST. JOHN ENTERPRISES, INC., TIE WANG INC.D/B/A IRON KING, TJ GROUP, INC., UNITEDSTEEL PRODUCTS, INC., FRED & LOU HOLDINGCO., LLC, W. LETELLIER, LLC, WILLETS POINTUNITED AGAINST EMINENT DOMAIN,Petitioners/Plaintiffs,-against-MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, as Mayor of the City ofNew York, CITY OF NEW YORK, CITY COUNCILOF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, CITY PLANNINGCOMMISSION OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, ROBERTC. LIEBER as Deputy Mayor for EconomicDevelopment and Rebuilding, NEW YORK CITYECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION,Respondents/Defendants.-------------------------------------------X
JOAN A. MADDEN, J.:
Petitioners move for an order pursuant to CPLR 5015vacating the prior decision and order of this court dated August16, 2010, and upon vacatur, permitting supplemental briefing andreargument in light of “recent developments and newly discovered
 
evidence.”The prior decision and order dismissed petitioners’ Article 78proceeding challenging a proposed project to develop the WilletsPoint section of Queens, New York, under the New York StateEnvironmental Quality Act (SEQRA) and the New York CityEnvironmental Review (CEQR).Petitioners specifically challenged the sufficiency of theFinal Generic Environmental Impact Statement (FGEIS) assessingthe proposed project. The FGEIS analyzed the project as asingle project encompassing the 61-acre area of Willets Point.As part of the project, new ramps on the neighboring Van WickExpressway were planned, in order to deal with the increasedvehicular traffic resulting from the development of WilletsPoint. It was clear from the project proposal, and from theFGEIS, that the ramps were considered an essential part of theproject.As noted in the prior decision, the FGEIS at 29-9, Response10 stated that “the proposed ramps are an integral part of theplan because they would make traffic flow to and from theDistrict much more efficient and reduce demand and congestion onlocal streets.” Moreover, the FGEIS assumed the ramps would bebuilt, and at oral argument, the City represented that if theramps are not approved, the City could not go forward with the
 
plan as conceived. Also, in dismissing petitioners’ Article 78proceeding, this court stated that if the planned ramps were notapproved by the relevant federal and state agencies, additionalenvironmental review would be required.Although the City has been able to acquire much of the landwithin the project area, some landowners have been unwilling tosell their property to the City, thus necessitating the use ofeminent domain to go forward with the project. At severalpoints during the original Article 78 proceeding, the Cityassured petitioners and the court that it would not go forwardwith its exercise of the power of eminent domain until approvalfor the ramps had been obtained.
See
Affidavit of Robert C.Lieber, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding,dated June 29, 2009, ¶ 20, and Affidavit of Thomas McKnight,senior vice president of the New York City Economic DevelopmentCorporation, dated June 29, 2009, ¶ 89 & 100, both affidavitsare annexed to Affidavit of Michael Gerrard, Ex. D and theLieber affidavit is cited in Respondents’/Defendants’ Memorandumof Law in Support of their Verified Answer to the Petition-Complaint (Respondents’ Memo), at 6. Now, the City has decidedto carry out the project in stages, and to utilize its eminentdomain power and proceed with a portion of the project, althoughit has not yet obtained

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