Village of Mamaroneck Zoning Board v. Board of Trustees
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Commissioner's Determination of Lead Agency
under Article 8 of the
Environmental Conservation Law
PROJECT: Taylor Lane Office Building, Village of Mamaroneck
This decision designating the Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees (hereinafter referred to as "Village Board of Trustees") as lead agency for the above project is made pursuant to 6 NYCRR 617.6. My determination is based on the conclusion that the Village Board of Trustees because of its broader powers under the Act of Zoning more appropriately meets the criteria enumerated at 6 NYCRR 617.6(d)(1)(i).
Based upon the information submitted and the representations made by the petitioners, the action may be summarized as follows:
- 1. The applicant, Alex Fusco, applied to the Village of Mamaroneck Zoning Board of Appeals (hereinafter referred to as "Zoning Board of Appeals") for a special use permit to construct a 72,600 square foot office building in a district zoned R-10/0-1.
- 2. Under Section 500 of the Zoning Ordinance of the Village of Mamaroneck, the Zoning Board of Appeals has jurisdiction over the granting of a special use permit for an office building in a R-10/0-1 zoning district.
- 3. On January 5, 1984, the Zoning Board of Appeals accepted the application for the special use permit and declared themselves lead agency. Copies of this determination were sent to other interested agencies.
- 4. Within the 30-day period allowed for determination of lead agency, the Village Board of Trustees objected to the designation of the Zoning Board of Appeals as lead agency.
- 5. The basis for the Village Board of Trustees' objection was that a petition requesting that the Village Board of Trustees consider the rezoning of the subject property had been received approximately two weeks prior to the acceptance of the special use permit application by the Zoning Board of Appeals. The petition requested that the property be rezoned R-10, thus eliminating the 0-1 commercial zone. On January 23, 1984, the Village Board of Trustees voted to consider the rezoning.
Participation in the lead agency process is predicated upon the existence of a jurisdiction. An agency must possess the authority to approve, fund or be directly undertaking the action to qualify as a candidate for lead agency. The jurisdiction of the Zoning Board of Appeals is clear. As stated in the letter dated February 7, 1984 from Mr. Angelo Mustich, Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, the granting of special use permits is the sole province of that board. Mr. Milton Berner, Attorney for the Village of Mamaroneck, had stated this same fact in his letter to the Mayor and Trustees dated January 23, 1984.
The Village Board of Trustees has jurisdiction over zoning. Yet this inherent jurisdiction is not sufficient to qualify the Village Board as an involved agency for this action. However, when on January 23, 1984, the Village Board of Trustees voted to consider the petitioner's request for rezoning, the specific jurisdiction of the Village Board of Trustees was established for this action. By exercising its legislative discretion, the Village Board of Trustees conferred jurisdiction upon itself. Therefore, both of the agencies vying for lead agency status possess the necessary jurisdiction.
My decision is based, in part, on the delineation of the action in SEQR terms, as not simply the granting or denial of a special use permit but the overall land use decision. Resolution of the basic land use issue is a prerequisite to the granting or denial of subsequent activities. Under this scenario, the decision to issue a special use permit to allow the construction of an office building is only one of the range of allowable uses available within the broad spectrum of alternatives presented by the land use question. This approach, to consider an action in its entirety, is supported by 6 NYCRR 617.11(b) and is consistent with the discussion on rezoning contained in the SEQR Handbook. The action of rezoning allows for a broader evaluation of the land use issue than does the issuance or denial of a special use permit.
Based upon a careful consideration of all the facts presented to me by the petitioner, I find that the greater breadth of governmental powers inherent in the zoning process will provide a more thorough evaluation of the proposal than the Zoning Board of Appeals would be able to provide. Therefore, I designate the Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees as lead agency for the Taylor Lane Office Building Project.
This decision does not or should not mean that the Zoning Board of Appeals should not actively participate in the SEQR review process. The nature of this project demands that the expertise of that board and other village bodies be made available to allow the lead agency to make an informed decision on the rezoning request.
Henry G. Williams Commissioner
Dated: April 18, 1984
Albany, New York
Distribution of Copies:
- Paul Keller - Regional Director, Region 3
Milton Berner - Attorney, Village of Mamaroneck
Angelo Mustich, Chairman, Village of Mamaroneck Board of Appeals
Stuart Shansburg, Attorney for Alex Fusco, project applicant
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation:
- L. Marsh