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Big noise in sleepy hollow over plans for former GM site.

A dispute continues between two Westchester County villages over land use of a 94.5 tract of land that was formerly a General Motors auto plant.

A lawsuit was filed last week in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Westchester, by the Village of Tarrytown against the Village of Sleepy Hollow and GM, challenging the environmental findings adopted by Sleepy Hollow.

Tarrytown is represented by the Westchester law firm of Silverberg Zalantis LLP.

Sleepy Hollow has been reviewing an application by GM to convert the tract into an $800 million mixed-use development called Lighthouse Landing for the past several years, but Tarrytown had serious concerns with the traffic impacts of the proposed project.

In fact, Tarrytown filed suit in October 2007, in an attempt to review the original findings issued by Sleepy Hollow and to require consideration of reducing the size of the project that included over 1100 housing units at that time, and more than 167,000 square feet of commercial space, including offices, retail and a hotel. The first suit was put on hold pending further action by Sleepy Hollow, which has recently adopted new environmental findings. The overriding issue, impacting the size of the project, has been traffic, congestion, and parking concerns along the main roadway, Route 9, going north and south through Tarrytown. The mayor of Tarrytown and village board had their own studies done and Tarrytown's consultants concluded the only way to remove the impacts is to have the project reduced by 40 to 50%.

While Sleepy Hollow was required to undertake an environmental assessment as the lead agency under the the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), Tarrytown claims it failed to take the mandatory "hard look" at reasonable alternatives, and specifically at the impacts of traffic on surrounding communities, including Tarrytown.

According to the filed petition, Sleepy Hollow not only failed in its obligations under SEQRA to adequately consider an alternative "to the significant traffic impacts, it fell short of reducing the project sufficiently to eliminate those impacts or to require meaningful mitigation of those impacts."

The petition by Tarrytown also noted that Tarrytown, as an involved agency, issued its own environmental findings which concluded that the GM proposal and the review by Sleepy Hollow was not consistent with the requirements of SEQRA.

The lawsuit was filed to annul the findings of Sleepy Hollow, to stop GM from proceeding with the project until it has complied with SEQRA, and to annul any approved permits granted based on the Sleepy Hollow findings.
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Comment:Big noise in sleepy hollow over plans for former GM site.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jun 1, 2011
Words:423
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